The most beautiful salad ever imagined is rarely seen upon our tables, although the principal material for its concoction may be grown in the tiniest yard. Any one who has tried growing nasturtiums must admit that they almost take care of themselves, and if the ground is enriched but a little their growth and yield of blossom is astonishingly abundant. It is these same beautiful blossoms that are used in salad, and, as if nature had surmised that their beauty should serve the very practical end of supplying the salad bowl, the more one plucks these growing flowers, the greater number will a small plant yield. The pleasant, pungent flavor of these blossoms would recommend them, aside from their beauty, and when they are shaken out of ice-cold water with some bits of heart lettuce, they, too, become crisp in their way. One of the prettiest ways of arranging a nasturtium salad is to partly fill the bowl with the center of a head of lettuce pulled apart and the blossoms plentifully scattered throughout. Prof. Blot, that prince of saladmakers, recommends the use of the blossoms and petals (not the leaves) of roses, pinks, sage, lady's slipper, marshmallow and periwinkle, as well as the nasturtium, for decorating the ordinary lettuce salad, and reminds his readers that roses and pinks may be had at all seasons of the year. In summer the lovely pink marshmallow is to be found wild in the country places near salt water; so abundant are these flowers in the marshes (hence the name) and so large are the petals that there need be no fear of robbing the flower vases to fill the salad bowl. These salads should be dressed at the table by the mistress, as, of course, a little wilting is sure to follow if the seasoning has been applied for any length of time. A French dressing is the best, although a mayonnaise may be used if preferred. Opinions differ greatly as regards the proportions of the former, but to quote Blot again, the proper ones are two of oil to one of vinegar, pepper and salt to taste. If the eye is not trained to measure pepper and salt and the hostess is timid about dressing a salad, let her have measured in a pretty cut-glass sprinkler a teaspoon of salt and half of pepper mixed, for every two of oil. For a small salad the two of oil and one of vinegar will be sufficient; measure the saltspoon even full of oil, sprinkle this over the salad, then half the salt and pepper; toss all lightly with the spoon and fork, then add the other spoonful of oil, the vinegar and the remainder of the salt and pepper; toss well and serve. How simple, and yet there are women who never have done the graceful thing of dressing lettuce at the table.
Potatoes and tomatoes in alternate layers may take the place of lettuce. Just before serving toss all together.
Attributed to Rebecca Underwood.