I found these recipes for summer salads in my collection. The Potato Salad recipe actually looks like it yields a 'normal' amount while the Corn Salad recipe would be enough for a large gathering or enough to fill quite a few glass jars!
Add to one large cupful of cooked potato cubes one-quarter of a cupful of diced cooked carrots, one tablespoon of chopped parsley, one slice of minced white onion and half a chopped pickled beet. Season to taste with salt and paprika, moisten with a mayonnaise dressing to which a slice of minced pickle has been added and serve on a bed of crisp romaine or lettuce. Garnish with celery tops and sliced hard-boiled egg.
This recipe sounds easy enough but for the woman who initially prepared this it was slightly more involved. Everything was grown by her or a neighbor and the mayonnaise did not come out of a jar! The pickled beets and minced pickles were more than likely waiting for her in a glass jar that she had already prepared and pickled. The eggs came from her own hens. Preparing meals for a family was infinitely more involved than it is today. And what to do with all the corn? ....
1 and a half doz. ears of corn
1 large head of cabbage
4 green peppers
3 large onions
1 large cup sugar
1 quart vinegar
2 Tbsps. salt
2 Tbsps. mustard
1/4 Tsp. Turmeric
Chop fine and boil 45 minutes.
That's it. Of course, if you grew up on this or it was made in your family you knew the rest. The instruction for a 'large' cup of sugar is interesting. Obviously, this was not referring to a measuring cup but a 'cup measure'. Two entirely different things. I guess depending on how big of a cup you used for measuring sugar your recipes could taste entirely different from your neighbor's or family member that had the same recipe!
Many of my heirloom and vintage recipes call for the spice 'Turmeric'. I don't think I have it (if I do, it's stuffed in the back of my spice cupboard) but here's a little more about this spice from 'The Herb and Spice Companion' by Kathryn Hawkins,
"Turmeric is the flavoring used for Worcestershire sauce and piccalilli, the pickled vegetable relish. It is added to mustard and some cheeses to enhance the yellow color. Turmeric is almost always sold as a ground powder because the root is very hard to grind. Only small quantities should be bought because it loses its flavor, although not its color, very quickly."
And another interesting bit of trivia about this spice native to India - it is sold whole and ground by the importing country and is considered a strong stimulant of the digestive and respiratory systems and also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
M.F.K. Fisher had this to say about salads in her 1942 book 'How to Cook a Wolf' - published during wartime and still applicable today,
"You can still find little fresh vegetables, and still know how to cook them until they are not quite done, and chill them, and eat them in a bowl. Why do we not do this oftener, much time as it will take? I am tired of tossed green salads, no matter what their subtleties of flavor. I want a salad of a dozen tiny vegetables: rosy potatoes in their tender skins, asparagus tips, pod-peas, beans two inches long and slender as thick hairs...I want them cooked, each alone, to fresh perfection. I want them dressed, all together, in a discreet veil of oil and condiments. Why not? What, in peacetime, is to prevent it? Are we too busy being peaceful for such play?"This last paragraph was written as a post script after the war had ended. Still profound. If you haven't read any of her works, you just should.