250 Cookbooks: The Art of Salad Making

Cookbook #20: The Art of Salad Making. Carol Truax, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY, 1968.

The Art of Salad Making

This is a friendly and well-written book. The author does know her salads: dressings, green salads, pasta and potato salads, chicken and meat salads, molded salads, fruit salads, salads from around the world. I think I bought this cookbook so that I would have a good reference for home-made salad dressings. But I’ve had it for over 40 years and I’ve never made any of the recipes. That says something. Looking through this book today, not a single recipe pops out at me. I pretty much know the basic information that Carol Truax presents, and already have my own takes on most types of salads and dressings.

I think a salad cookbook needs to have lots of large and color photos. Green salads can be gorgeous! This book has a few line drawings but no photos. And looking past the printed page, contemporary, upscale restaurants offer fascinating green salads – I learn a lot when we go out to eat. These salads are way more imaginative than the ones this little book offers. It’s too outdated for my tastes, and no longer has much to teach me. I will recycle this book.

I do need to cook one recipe from The Art of Salad Making before I place it in the recycle pile. I plan to make shui mais and a stir-fry for our Saturday night dinner, so I search the index for an Oriental-style salad. Here’s one: “Chinese Asparagus Salad”. Quick and easy, but a little different from what I usually do. Green asparagus is just what I’m looking for to complete my Oriental meal.

I don’t remember ever having asparagus at a Chinese restaurant. I don’t think of it as “Chinese” vegetable. I was surprised when I looked up “asparagus” on Wikipedia and found that China is the world’s largest producer of asparagus, where it is known as lu sun. I learn something new every day.

Here’s the recipe:

Chinese Asparagus SaladChinese Asparagus Salad

This version serves 2 people.

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cut the tips of the asparagus on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces. We don’t like the tough stalks of asparagus, so I only got 2 pieces per asparagus stalk. Bring some salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus 3 minutes.

cooking asparagusDrain the asparagus and rinse with cold water so that it stops cooking. Combine the soy sauce, oil, and sugar.

Chinese Asparagus Salad makingsMarinate the asparagus in the soy sauce mixture for at least an hour. Serve over greens.

Here is one of our pretty dinner plates:

Chinese mealThe asparagus is plated over shredded cabbage. Then, clockwise from the asparagus: fried rice; stir-fried beef tenderloin with shitakis, broccoli, and onions; shui mais. In the center is the dipping sauce for the shui mais. I should share my recipe for shui mai. Soon!

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