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 preparation of the various salad ingredients demands a little time, but the result is well worth the effort. A tomato salad, served skin and all, for instance, may be quickly prepared, but the skin is indigestible, and its removal will not only make the salad more appetizing, but will lift it above the restaurant level. A good way to remove tomato skins is to bruise the fruit with the blunt edge of a knife, when the tomato may be easily peeled. By this method none of the flavor is lost. A quicker method is to use boiling water; if properly done, the flavor is not greatly affected. Put the tomatoes into a wire basket, plunge them into boiling water and let stand one minute, and then immerse in cold water. Cabbage should be shredded fine for salad, rather than chopped. It is not necessary to use a special shredder for the purpose, a very sharp long knife serving to shave the cabbage into tiny shreds. These should be crisped in ice water, if possible.. There is no foundation for the old-time idea that cucumbers should always be allowed to stand for some time in cold, salted water before using. They should be crisped in plain ice water, but, if they are hard to digest, they may be placed in a cheesecloth bag and the juice squeezed out. They will not be crisp, treated in this way, but are usually more digestible. Celery for salad should be cut into small dice; if properly prepared, even the outer stalks may be used. The grooves should be washed with a brush, the strings removed by slipping a knife under them at the root-end, and pulling toward the top of the stalks; scraping is not a good method. Two or three stalks should then be put together. They should be held on a board, and the stalks be shredded lengthwise, then cut crosswise into small uniform pieces.
Fish, chicken and other meats should be cut in pieces about the size of a large pea; if they are too large, the dressing does not penetrate them; if too small, or if the meat has been put through the food-chopper, the result is a pasty mixture, suitable only for sandwich fillings.
When introducing eggs into a mixed salad, slice them, or separate the whites from the yolks, chop the whites, coarsely, and mix them with the salad; rub the hard-cooked yolk through a coarse sieve or potato ricer, and sprinkle thickly over the top as a garnish. In making potato salad it is always better to cut the potatoes small and combine them, while still warm, with the onion juice, vinegar and oil; the other ingredients may be added later. Parsley, mint, chervil and other herbs should be very finely minced after being thoroughly washed and then dried.