New Garden Lettuce Dressing

New Garden Lettuce Dressing
salad dressing.jpg

I hope we can still be friends when I tell you that I'd like for you to consider making a salad dressing that will look like this.

You see, it is an old family recipe, this dressing, and while it looks slightly repulsive I assure you it is special. Can I digress for a bit before sharing the recipe? Of course I can. It's my blog, after all. I often think about how wonderful it is to live in an age where I can peruse Pinterest for recipes, track them there, follow blogs, and  e mail friends and family recipes they might like. However, I fear we are losing (have lost?) something that reflects a large part of how I came to love cooking and sharing recipes: the handwritten recipe card. When is the last time you wrote on one of those? It's been ages for me, and honestly, the thought of hand writing an entire recipe right now might make me decide not to share it. Seriously. Writing by hand is slow, but it is special. Some of my most treasured items are handwritten recipe cards from my Grammy. I know I mentioned the recipe for pie crust several times, but I came across another as I was sifting through a cookbook (there's a clue to my disorganization. I often just shove recipe cards in a cookbook to mark them and forget to re-file).

I just so happened to flip the above recipe over and I got a little bonus--her grocery list.

 This recipe is for Basque Beans (crockpot baked beans with a bunch o meat). I remember she sent this to me after Matt and I enjoyed it at her home on our visit in 2003.

This recipe is for Basque Beans (crockpot baked beans with a bunch o meat). I remember she sent this to me after Matt and I enjoyed it at her home on our visit in 2003.

 I'm not really sure what she intended to make, but I suspect she was ready to do some baking. It made me smile to see that she had listed 2 of the items twice. She was 80 years old at the time, so let's give her a little break on that.

I'm not really sure what she intended to make, but I suspect she was ready to do some baking. It made me smile to see that she had listed 2 of the items twice. She was 80 years old at the time, so let's give her a little break on that.

 

So my point here is that I think this is pretty cool. My mom has kept this habit of handwriting recipes, and just as my grandma did, she includes a little note of background about the recipe: either when we ate it (i.e. on her legendary visits post-baby delivery) or how she changed it, or what it means to our family. Just as my grandma had distinct handwriting I'd recognize anywhere, so does my mom. It is comforting to me to see her words penned on the card in a way only she would write it. This brings us back full circle to the salad dressing I want to talk about (thank you for bearing with my digression). I have it written on a card from my mom, and I bust it out every time I make the dressing.

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I'll tell you that my mom wrote that this recipe dates back to my great grandmother and probably farther. It is so simple, and so delicious on tender greens. We always ate it when the first new garden lettuce was ready, but I eat it all summer with red leaf, green leaf, or butter lettuce from the Farmer's Market. It is just right for a delicate lettuce, but I wouldn't put it on romaine or ice berg. It is very sweet, so if that's not your thing then this isn't for you. Our favorite way is to keep the salad simple by dressing the greens and then topping with sliced green onions (kind of balances the sweetness) and plenty of salt and pepper. Thinly sliced radishes are optional. Make the most of the summer bounty before it's gone!

New Garden Lettuce Dressing

-from my great grandmother Myrtle Rush

Mix together:

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • 1 T. water

Then add 1/2 cup milk (or if you dare, half and half, which makes it even creamier). That's it.  Sometimes simple is better, remember?