This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The three American salads are raw tomatoes, lettuce, and chicken salad. There arc other favorites and nearly all varieties are eaten when offered but the distinction in regard to these is that they are wanted, missed and called for if not furnished, and missed by all. Celery can hardly be classed as a salad as it is always eaten plain with salt, it comes next in the list of universal favorites, however, and then may be instanced the potato salad of thinly sliced potato, with parsley, oil, vinegar, onion juice, pepper and salt After these the lobster salad, and, a degree less common and more expensive, the shrimp salad, and then for lunch or supper another potato salad of sliced potatos in a yellow creamy dressing made of cooked yolks, butter, raw yolks, cream and vinegar, parsley, pepper, mustard, salt; the butter and cream being the substitute for oil. The taste for oil is soon acquired but as salad oil is not an article of general household consumption throughout the country it is anything but acceptable to the people who first try the stronger salads at the hotels.
Still the practiced diner in general prides himself upon his aptitude at mixing his salad upon his own plate, making the dressing from the contents of the cruet-stands and usually the hard-boiled egg which he finds upon the top of the dish of lettuce; sometimes he must have a raw egg and with oil, mus'ard, vinegar and seasonings, compounds his own mayonnaise. However, this more elaborate dressing can generally be obtained from the chef's department and in most hotels there is at least one salad each day dressed with mayonnaise and decorated before it is served.
"In strolling through the central markets of Paris recently we were struck with the variety of salading displayed on the vegetable stalls. There is an old French book describing the 300 salads of Father Matthew, and it is said, and with truth, that a Frenchman may have a different salad for every day of the year. The proper moment for serving and eating green salads is with roast meat, and more particularly with the game or poultry of the second course. There are people who, without being professed vegetarians, would rather eat a salad without meat than meat without a salad".
"It is a matter of hard fact that a salad-bowl is a thing unknown to 999 out of 1,000 eating-houses in England. In private houses and in clubs of course it is to be found, because English gentlemen of the class who belong to clubs know that a salad to be enjoyed must be mixed, and that it cannot be properly mixed without a good-sized bowl. But let us 70 into one of Spiers and Pond's establishments - and in singling them out I pay them a compliment. They are at the head of their profession, they have deserved well of the public, and if they fail in any point we may be sure that the failure belongs not to them individually, but to the English system. I have not been to all their establishments, but in those I have visited this is what I find. They keep an immense bowl on the buffet, crammed with a confusion of salad-herbs soaking in water. You ask for a salad. The waiter brings you a wet lettuce cut in halves upon a flat plate, and he puts down beside it an an-nulated bottle, full of the abominable compound known as salad-mixture. You politely hint to the waiter, first of all, that you prefer not to touch bis prepared mixture. He takes it away, wounded in his feelings, and assumes that you are going to eat the lettuce with salt.
You next make a demand for oil and vinegar, and try to explain that a salad to be properly mixed must, according to the saying, be mixed by a madman; it cannot, therefore, be mixed on a flat plate. The waiter then brings a soup-plate; if you are not satisfied with that, he brings a vegetable-dish, then perhaps a slop-basin; and if you are still discontended, he tries you last of all with a soup-tureen. As for a salad-bowl - which one can get at once in the paltriest French restaurant - it is not, as a rule, to be found in the splendidly furnished establishments of Spiers and Pond. This simply means that a salad properly prepared does not belong to the English system of the table, and does not enter into the calculations of those who cater for it in public. I sometimes at English inns manage to get a salad-bowl by asking for a punchbowl. Mine host is nearly always prepared to make punch, though he does not know what a salad is".