Many people don’t pause for observance of Memorial Day other than to know it’s a day off, that they can go to the beach, or cook out. I will post a couple of early summer recipes today from Civil War era cook-books that were widely available. This first recipe comes from Eliza Leslie’s “New Cookery Book” published in Philadelphia in 1857.
“In preparing this, or any other salad-dressing, take carenot to use that excessivly pungent and deleterious combination of drugs which is now so frequently imposed upon the public as the best white wine vinegar. In reality, it has no vinous material about it; and it may be known by its violent and disagreeable sharpness, which overpowers and destroys the taste (and also the substance) of whatever is mixed with it. It is also very unwholesome. Its color is always pale, and it is nearly as clear as water. No one should buy or use it. The first quality of real cider vinegar is good for all purposes.”
“A Spanish proverb says, that for compounding a good salad, four persons are required – a spendthrift for oil; a miser for vinegar; a man of judgment for salt; and a madman for stirring the dressing.
3-4 rounded teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1 hard boild egg, shelled and mashed
In a small bowl combine mustard, salt, pepper, and vinegar, blending together well. While beating, very slowly blend in olive oil, incorporating ingredients thoroughly. Stir in hard-boiled egg.
(fresh herbs such as tarragon, basil, marjoram, or thyme may be added to this basic dressing)
Sources: Eliza Leslie, Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book, 1857 as found in Nancy Carter Crump, Hearthside Cooking,