Tag Archives: salad cream

Silly fussy salad from 1970’s

My 1972 salad lessons teach students how to make elaborate plates of over fussed food. We don’t have exotic things like avocados or alfalfa, so we fiddle about instead. Radishes become roses, tomatoes turn into lilies, cucumber is stripped and scissored and spring onions are converted into tassels. Nothing is served simply. Every item is mauled and prepared, plated and primped. And if we can stuff it we do – stuffed eggs, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed cucumber.

Salads in these days are not tossed or dressed. Heinz Salad Cream goes with everything. My mother is horrified when, during a half term visit to Kettering from my London school, I toss a bowl of freshly picked salad from her garden with some French dressing.
‘You’ve ruined it with that muck. Keep out of the kitchen with your fancy ways! We eat salad cream with our salads, and we don’t need the French to show us how to cook.’

Lettuce from my mother’s garden is a choice of crunchy Cos or the sweet leaves of Little Gem. The greengrocers in East London, send us soft, floppy, round lettuce with limp, tasteless leaves. All fur coat and no knickers I call it – it looks OK but underneath it is naked nothingness. No wonder students hate it. When Iceberg arrives on our shores to accompany McDonald’s hamburger buns, our lettuce eating habits change forever.
The aim of this salad lesson is to arrange a plate of colourful cold vegetables and serve it with some stuffed eggs. I provide all the ingredients, but this means everything must be the same size and quality.
‘His tomato’s bigger than mine miss!’

Girls like Alice always protest about the size of my offerings. I wonder if Alice will get a job for a campaign organization, or work in politics.
‘I don’t want them radishes – they’ve got weevils in them!’

Ian likes the best quality produce and might grow up to be a greengrocer.

Stuffed eggs
Hard boiled eggs are our protein food today – the truth is we can’t afford anything else. I arrive early at school and boil 25 eggs in a huge saucepan of water for 7 minutes, then plunge them into a sink of cold water to keep the yolk yellow.
‘I want the brown egg miss – me nan says brown eggs are best.’
Janice’s nan often has stern things to say about my cookery lessons.
‘You peel off the shell and don’t eat it, Janice, – the shell colour doesn’t matter.’
I get a glower. Nan is wise and old and always right.
Janice’s gran also says she must have hot food at lunchtime. When I suggest making salad for a picnic, I get a note from Gran explaining that it won’t be eaten as it is cold, so can Janice make a sponge cake for tea instead.
Tim, a teacher, has kindly bought the overfussed salad with stuffed egg that Janice will prepare today, so I must watch her health and hygiene so she keeps the food safe to eat. I’m sure she won’t spit in it to show her disgust at not being allowed to bake a cake, but Janice needs reminding that hands need washing before food preparation, despite Gran telling her that a bit of dirt never hurt anyone.
I demonstrate the new skills they will learn today. I crack and peel the egg shell – if the eggs are too fresh the shell sticks to the white, so I keep older eggs for this lesson. I slice the eggs in half lengthways, scoop out the yolk then mash it with salad cream – yum.
‘You can put this mixture back in the egg with a spoon, or if you are really skilled, use this piping bag and twirl it back into the egg like this.’
Janice lets out a squeal. ‘It looks like yellow poo. I’m glad I’m not eating that.’
I decorate the twirl with a sprig of parsley. This is fiddled food at its most extreme. Good enough for any hostess trolley.

Vegetable fiddling is next. Tomatoes are cut into lilies with pointed edges, and filled with salad cream and cottage cheese – a new ingredient on our shop shelves.
I cut the radishes into roses and slice spring onions to become tassels. This fussed over veg is dunked into freezing water to open up and lose its nutrients. We peel and slice the cucumber then scoop out the middle and mix with salad cream.
They are eager to get on.
‘OK – eggs then salad – we’ll do the lettuce later.’
They rush off to choose a tray of ingredients which has the largest egg or tomato. I dread this choosing stage. There’s always grumbles and swapping.
‘Miss, I don’t eat salad.’
‘Miss, her cucumber’s bigger than mine.’
‘Can I have tomato instead of this green stuff?’
‘Miss, my tomato is missing.’
At last they are sorted and busy. Eggs are twirled and salad chopped.
I dump the droopy lettuces, in a butler’s sink of ice cold water. Examiners don’t like this , so I warn the class that the Vitamin C which will leach out into the water, and the limp lettuce will not be so nutritious.
‘Come round and I’ll show you how to present the salad.’
I remove the lettuce, radish and spring onions from the cold water, and pat them dry with a tea towel. No fancy salad spinners here.
‘Place in colourful sections on a plate, sprinkle with bits of mustard and cress and serve with a jug of SALAD CREAM.’
What a fuss for something which today would be chopped, tossed and served in bowl!

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Filed under Foods of the 1970s, Jenny Ridgwell

Stuffed eggs

This is the seventies recipe but you can liven it up with chilli sauce or curry powder which we didn’t use.

Makes 8 halves of stuffed eggs


4 eggs

Salad cream

Paprika pepper

Parsley sprigs

  1. Put the eggs in hot water in a saucepan , bring the water to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs and put into very cold water to stop the yolks from turning black.
  3. When cool cut the eggs in half, lengthways and scoop out the yolk
  4. Mash the yolk with some salad cream and then with spoon or pipe back into the whites.
  5. To serve, sprinkle with a pinch of paprika and decorate with a sprig of parsley.

You can serve the eggs with silly fussy salad – tomato lilies, tassels of spring onions, radish roses and leaves of limp lettuce and of course, a jug of salad cream.

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Filed under Foods of the 1970s, Retro recipes

Salad cream

During the research for this book I’ve asked a lot of people about salad cream. When I was teaching, we put salad cream in lots of things such as stuffed eggs, and served it in a posh jug with a meal. Here is my research on salad cream which will appear in the book.

Salad cream was the first brand developed in 1925 by Heinz for the UK market. Salad cream was hugely popular during wartime rationing as it livened up the rather limited range of foods available. There is a class issue with salad cream, as it was popular in working class areas, and the more sophisticated cooks made their own mayonnaise. My favourite salad cream dish was mashed hard boiled eggs, salad cream and chopped chives in a wholemeal bread sandwich.
Salad cream sales began to decline in 1970’s, when hamburgers and American mayonnaise arrived on our shop shelves, salad cream went into decline. Salad cream is virtually unknown outside the UK.
In 1998 Heinz relaunched the brand with the slogan
Any food tastes supreme with Heinz salad cream.
I once had the job to write a cookery leaflet with 21 Heinz salad cream recipes. My family despaired at having to eat salad cream with nearly everything!
The chef Marco Pierre White is supposed to have said
‘Salad cream is one of the greatest culinary inventions’ .

These are the food labels for salad cream and mayonnaise. Amazingly the ingredients are virtually the same, only in different proportions. Salad cream has half the calories of mayonnaise. Both use pasteurised egg yolk for safety to avoid salmonella food poisoning.

Heinz salad cream  332 calories per 100 g 41p per 100g
Spirit Vinegar, Vegetable Oil (25%), Water, Sugar, Mustard, Salt, Egg Yolks (3%), Modified Cornflour, Stabilisers – Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum, Colour – Riboflavin.
Hellmann’s mayonnaise 722 calories per 100g 45 p per 100g
Vegetable Oil (77%), Water, Pasteurised Egg & Egg Yolk (8%), Spirit Vinegar, Salt, Sugar, Lemon Juice, Mustard Flavouring, Antioxidant (Calcium Disodium EDTA), Paprika Extract.
What is the difference?
Mayonnaise contains more oil and has twice the number of calories weight for weight.
What is the same?
They both contain oil, water, spirit vinegar, egg yolk, salt, sugar, mustard.
They are similar in price

Did you know
In a 2009 survey by Windsetlers Gel Capsules, 20% of travellers that go on a foreign holiday take salad cream or brown sauce in their suitcases. Tea bags are the most popular memento (42%), then newspapers (25%) then sauces, then toys (11%).

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Filed under Foods of the 1970s