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Salads of the Seventies. June 21, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. Some of my favorite cookbooks in my massive collection are those from the Hippie era. You know, like the original Moosewood Cookbook, with its hand-lettered recipes and crudely drawn illustrations. My all-time favorite is a fabulous find from the dark, scary attic of a used-book store. It’s called Vegetarian Gothic, and has black-and-white photos of the Hippies from the commune who ran the little restaurant that had inspired the recipes, as well as the inevitable hand-lettering and drawings and some truly priceless era-appropriate commentary. Far out!

Not, I admit, that I actually cook from these books; I just love reading them and time-travelling back to an era when Flower Power was considered a viable concept, and personal ornamentation and idealism reached a level the world hadn’t seen since the Cavalier days of King Charles I. But I digress.

Returning to salads, I was thrilled to find a cookbook from 1978 at our local library’s weekly book sale. It had originally cost a whopping $1.95, but the lucky owner had gotten it on special, “2/$1.00,” according to a tag on the front cover; I got it for free. Unlike most books of that era, this was a specialty cookbook, focusing entirely on salads: Wonderful Ways to Prepare Salads by Jo Ann Shirley. Of course it was printed in green ink on brown paper, each page bordered with a great illustration of salad ingredients.

The salads themselves were something of a revelation. Most of them seemed to include anchovies and caviar, and there were plenty of “molded salads” (aka aspics) of all types and stripes, as well as gems like Lamb Salad, Bacon and Egg Salad, Scrambled Egg Salad, Tongue Salad, and Dairy Cheese Salad. Oh, my. Those lucky Seventies families!

However, there actually were some perfectly decent-looking salads, and there was an entire section of homemade salad dressings. Since we’re heading towards July Fourth, how about a couple of retro coleslaw recipes? Here you go:

              Cabbage Salad

1 tomato, chopped

4 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cabbage, shredded

1. Combine tomato, scallions, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well and chill.

2. Combine celery and cabbage.

3. Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly.

Serves 4-6.

            Garden Cole Slaw

1/4 cabbage, shredded

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/2 cucumber, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons grated onion

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Toss together cabbage, radishes, cucumber, celery, parsley and onion.

2. Combine mayonnaise with the vinegar, mustard, cream, salt and pepper. Beat well.

3. Pour over cole salw and mix well.

Serves 6-8.

And the bonus:

               Apple-Cabbage Salad

1 Savoy cabbage 

5 red apples

1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

pinch sugar

1. Wash and drain cabbage. Shred finely. Retain outer leaves.

2. Wash apples. Core but do not peel. Dice the apples.

3. Grate cheese.

4. Combine cabbage, apples and cheese. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Beat mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard and sugar together.

6. Pour dressing over salad and toss lightly.

7. Line the salad bowl with the outer leaves of the cabbage and fill with the salad.

Serves 8.

Note: “Prepared mustard” simply means jarred or bottled mustard, as opposed to dry (powdered) mustard.

Ready for your retro celebration this Fourth of July? No? Well, maybe I can come up with more authentic era-appropriate recipes for deviled eggs, potato salad, and other picnic staples. Then all you need are your love beads, peace signs, and tie-dyed tee-shirts!

                 ‘Til next time,




1. nancybond - June 21, 2011

Oh my, they all sound delicious, especially that apple-cabbage combination. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Hi Nancy! I liked the sound of that apple-cabbage salad, too. If you make any of them, let me know what you think!

2. Jen - June 21, 2011

Oh yes, the apple cabbage. My mom used to make a “salad” that was cottage cheese on a lettuce leaf, garnished with a maraschino cherry. I always wondered how that could be called a salad, but hey, it was the 70s!

Ha! What about good old Jell-o on a lettuce leaf with a blob of mayo on top? Eeeewwww…

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