This section is from the book "Economical Cookery", by Marion Harris Neil. Also available from Amazon: Economical Cookery (1918).
"An olive, capers or some better salad."
There are not many pleasanter dishes than salads when served in a pretty salad bowl or in individual dishes. For the benefit of the thrifty housewife it may be added that few things are more economical, as they utilize all sorts of scraps.
Many people declare that the liking for salads is an acquired taste. It is an excellent taste to acquire! Salad greens have but little nutriment, but they are valuable, nevertheless, for the potash salts that they contain, as well as for their cooling properties.
Many housewives make but one kind of salad dressing to answer for each and all salads, forgetting that mayonnaise or a boiled salad dressing is much too heavy for many of the more delicate greens. Watercress especially demands a French dressing, and lettuce, endive, celery, and cucumber are equally good with it.
In making a salad only the best oil and vinegar should be used, and the greens must not be soused with water, but, after washing, they should be thoroughly well drained, and tossed well in dry cloths or in a salad drainer to get rid of all the moisture. Never on any account cut up lettuce, but break the leaves into pieces of the desired size, and remember that the salad should not be drenched with the dressing, but just lightly tossed in it. It is a great improvement to plain salads to sprinkle them with some finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, chives, tarragon, etc.
Fruit salads are always popular. A good fruit salad always makes a pleasant change from the plain, ripe fruit itself. It is a way of taking mixed things, with the maximum of benefit to the system.
The gums, pectins, and fruit sugars contained in the natural fruits, their innate sulphur, most helpful of salts when in mixture with the different acids; their quantities of iron, citrates, tartrates, and other good saline constituents, make a proper mixture of them a very desirable matter.
Nothing but the best fruit in perfect condition should be allowed to enter the salad bowl. No amount of disguise can do away with the permeating flavor of an inferior article. Fruit is plentiful, cheap, and good; therefore there should be no temptation to practice false economy by purchasing a poor quality.
Orange, banana, and apple are excellent, as are also orange, banana, and pineapple, fresh or canned. The flavor of fruit salads may be improved by rubbing on the rind of a lemon one or two lumps of sugar, crushing these, and using them with a little powdered sugar. Bananas combine well with any kind of juicy fruit, and the following may be recommended: Bananas and apricots, both sliced, with a little chopped pineapple; bananas and stoned cherries, with orange flavored sugar; bananas and raspberries, with or without some red currants; bananas and strawberries, divided in halves or quartered, if very large. A greater number of fruits may be combined successfully, such as bananas, stoned cherries, sliced pineapple, melon, peaches, apricots, seeded and skinned grapes, and apples and pears in thin slices. Red currants and strawberries, red and white currants and red raspberries mix well with thinly cut slices of apples, or with the ever useful banana.