I’m sometimes asked how I decide which hundred-year-old recipes to make. Often I make recipes that sound like something I think I might like; other times I select recipes because I’m intrigued by an unusual combination of ingredients or preparation methods.
This week, was a first. Another blogger’s post inspired me to select a particular hundred-year-old recipe.
I recently read Automatic Gardening and Real Gluten Free Food’s recipe for Cold Chicken Rice Salad – and thought, “I think that I’ve seen a similar recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook.” Next thing I knew, I was making a 1919 recipe for Chicken, Rice, and Celery Salad.
Chicken, Rice, and Celery Salad has a nice texture, and is packed with flavor. Both a hundred years ago and now, this salad is perfect for a summer lunch or picnic.
Here is the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I used some lettuce, but not an entire head. Similarly I used less mayonnaise than the old recipe called for.
It’s always a challenge to get kids to eat healthy foods, but one trick that parents have been using for a long time is to dress foods up so they look like animals or other creatures. I recently came across a fun hundred-year-old recipe for Butterfly Salad that is quick and easy to make.
The recipe called for asparagus, lettuce, pineapple slices, olives, and pimento strips. This combination of ingredients sounded a bit unusual to me, but it actually was very tasty. The olives added a nuanced saltiness to the other ingredients, but did not overwhelm them.
2 flat lettuce leaves (I used the top portion of the outer leaves from a head of Romaine lettuce.)
1 slice canned pineapple
1 spear cooked asparagus (chilled)
2 – 3 stuffed green olives
2 strips pimento
2 tablespoons French dressing or mayonnaise (optional)
To make a butterfly set the asparagus spear in the center of the plate to represent the body. To make the wings place the lettuce leaves on either side of the asparagus spear. To make the head, set an olive at the base of the asparagus spear. Cut the pineapple slice in half, and symmetrically set each half on a lettuce leaf. Slice the other olive(s), and place slices on the pineapple to decorate the leaf “wings”. Put the strips of pimento above the olive head to represent the butterfly’s antennas. If desired, serve with French dressing or mayonnaise.
Sometimes salads can seem a bit boring, so I was delighted to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Cabbage and Beet Salad. This salad makes a lovely presentation that is just a tad dramatic. And, a subtle homemade French dressing adds just the right amount of flavor to the salad.
Here’s the photo and recipe for Cabbage and Beet Salad in the hundred-year-old magazine:
1 small cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups shredded cabbage)
2 medium beets, cooked and diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 cup diced, cooked beets)
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion, finely minced
Put shredded cabbage in a bowl; gently stir in 2/3 of the French dressing. Put in refrigerator, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Put diced beets in another bowl; gently stir in 1/3 of the French dressing. Put in refrigerator, and chill for at least 2 hours.
To serve: Drain any excess dressing from the shredded cabbage, then arrange the cabbage in a ring with a hole in the center. (I pressed the cabbage into a circular mold, covered with the serving plate, and then quickly flipped and removed mold – but a mold is not necessary.)
Drain any excess liquid from the beets. Place beets in the center of the ring. Serve immediately.
To make French Dressing: Put olive oil, vinegar, salt, mustard, and paprika in a small bowl; stir to combine. Stir in minced onion.
Simple, tasty, attractive salads are the best. I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill. Date and Apple Salad has a light lemon and oil dressing. The apples and dates are cut into “match-stick” pieces which makes a lovely presentation; and the tart, crunchiness of the apples combines beautifully with the sweet, chewy dates. This recipe is a keeper.
Cut dates into lengthwise into “match-stick” pieces, and put into a bowl. Peel and core apples, then cut into match-stick pieces. Dip apple pieces in lemon juice, then place in the bowl with the dates. Add salt and oil; then gently toss. If desired, serve on lettuce leaves.
The hundred-year-old recipe called for six tablespoons of oil. This seemed excessive, so I used two tablespoons of oil.
Food presentation is an art. I occasionally see lovely food designs in hundred-year-old magazines that may not quite work a century later. Then again, maybe they do. As food fads wax and wane over time, these old presentations sometimes almost seem refreshingly cutting edge. Pear and Celery Salad definitely is dramatic, and is sure to be a conversation item at any party; however,I have mixed feelings about whether it is a fun but quirky recipe, or just a bit odd.
The Pear and Celery Salad is placed on a bed of celery leaves, which creates a beautiful foundation for the salad. Celery slices are heaped into a large mound in the center of the plate, and then surrounded by canned pear halves (poached fresh pear halves would also work well). The mounded celery is topped with a mayonnaise, chili sauce, and nut dressing.
This recipe definitely turned out better than I thought it might. The tender pears melted in my mouth and their delicate flavor was nicely balanced by the crunchy celery and nuts. The dressing reminded me a little of French salad dressing, except that it was nutty instead of smooth. The dressing worked well with the celery – and was intriguing with the pears.
approximately 2 1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/2 – inch slices
1 29-ounce can of pear halves, drained
To make the dressing, place the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl; stir until combined. Add nuts, and stir. Set aside.
Arrange celery leaves on serving plate, then place the sliced celery in a pile in the center of the plate. Surround the heaped celery with the pear halves which are stood on their edge. Gently spoon the dressing on top of the celery. There may be more dressing than needed. Reserve and extra dressing and serve separately.
Orange and Mint Salad is bright and sunny; and the perfect antidote to boring winter foods. The bite-size chunks of orange are mixed with chopped mint, and then drenched in a delightful citrus and wine liquid to create a refreshing, yet light salad (or dessert).
. . . hmm. . . . Now that I think about it, this salad would also be lovely on a hot summer day. Bottom line: This salad is good whenever you eat it.
Peel the oranges using care to remove the white membrane. Pull the orange segments apart into two halves, and then pull them apart again so there are quarters. Slice the quarters into pieces about 1/3 inch thick. Put the orange pieces in a bowl, and gently stir in the powdered sugar and mint.
In a small bowl combine the wine, lemon juice, and orange juice (and, if desired, the maraschino cherry juice). Pour the liquid over the orange and mint mixture.
Serve in champagne (or other decorative) glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries and mint sprigs.
I only used half as many oranges as were called for in the old recipe. I also halved the amount of mint that I used. I did use the full amount of the other ingredients so that I would have plenty of liquid to pour over the orange pieces.
I also added a little maraschino cherry juice to the liquid to give it a lovely pink hue.
And, I skipped the angelica because it’s not easy to find these days. Angelica is the dark green candied fruit that was frequently used in fruit cakes in days gone by.
Over the next couple weeks I have several picnics on my calendar. Potato Salad is the quintessential picnic food, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old Potato Salad recipe.
At first I wasn’t quite sure about the recipe. It didn’t contain the usual Potato Salad ingredients like celery and mayonnaise, but rather was a vinaigrette dressing. Yet, the recipe was so easy that I decided to give it a try.
The Potato Salad was lovely, and the vinaigrette dressing with a hint of pepper was just right. It added a delightful flavor to the potatoes, but didn’t overwhelm them. This recipe is a keeper.
The old recipe made a lot of dressing relative to the potatoes, so I divided it by three when I revised it. Here’s the updated recipe for modern cooks:
Peel and dice potatoes into 3/4 inch chunks. Put into a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the potatoes are just barely tender (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Chill in refrigerator for several hours, then add onions.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour this dressing over the potatoes and onions. Gently toss to coat the potatoes with the dressing. Put in serving bowl; and, if desired, garnish with parsley sprigs.