This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
The best way to prepare a green salad, whether it be plain," with herbs, with a combination of tart fruits, or with other fresh vegetables, is to dress the salad at the table. In this case the salad bowl should be roomy. The high bowl on a standard is quite the newest shape. In general the bowl should be lined with salad greens, the other ingredients, if they are used, being arranged attractively among the leaves. The oil and vinegar should be in cruets and together with the salt, pepper, paprika, any other desired condiments, and the salad fork and spoon should be set upon a small tray. To dress the salad, measure out a half tablespoonful of oil for each person to be served. Pour it over the salad, add the salt, pepper and other condiments, if they are to be used, and toss the salad with the fork and spoon until the leaves begin to look a little wilted, then add one-third as much vinegar as oil for each person, and mix until it is absorbed. This does not take long, if done vigorously.
The salad can be greatly varied by using various kinds of vinegar. Italian vinegar gives an especially smooth, pungent dressing, while any of the herb vinegars, such as tarragon, nasturtium, celery, mint and so on (any of which may be easily made at home) relieve any monotony.
The question has frequently been asked why it is preferable to dress the salad at the table, rather than to use a French dressing, which is poured over the salad. The first method is preferable for delicate greens, because they then absorb the dressing, but the regulation French dressing should be used in marinating (combining) various salad ingredients, as chicken, veal, potatoes and the like, which will readily absorb it without becoming wilted. The proportions of oil and vinegar for French dressing remain the same as when the salad is dressed at the table.