I’ve been thinking a lot about my 96 year old grandma lately. She and I have always been really close but sadly, we live over 1,000 miles apart and I haven’t been able to see her in nearly 3 years. I’ve always been compared to my grandma, mostly by our similarly strong personalities but the more my family’s diet has changed over the past year, the deeper connection I feel with her. In many ways, I’ve feel like I’ve become a 1940’s housewife.
While I cannot imagine raising 5 children during the 40’s and 50’s without the modern conveniences of a washer and dryer, food processors, high powered blenders and the like, it was just a few years ago that the mere idea of raising a family without the convenience of pre-packaged foods and pizza delivery service was mind boggling to me. But here I am, thankful to be doing just that.
I was talking with my dad the other day and he told me that he was in the 7th grade before he had his first slice of pizza. He was in the 11th grade before he ever stepped foot into a pizza parlor. My dad can vividly recall the few times he had a soda pop growing up. On a hot, humid summer afternoon after throwing bales of hay on the farm, my great uncle George would take my dad down to the drugstore for an icy cold Squirt. It cost all of 10¢ and that was expensive in 1957.
Money was hard to come by for my grandparents, but they made due (with a lot of boiled cabbage dinners on those frigid Minnesota nights). Summertime was a different story however, with plenty of garden fresh vegetables. My grandma was the queen of salads. She made salads out of everything, vegetable salads, fruit salads, Spam salads (really more of a sandwich spread), gelatin salads and pickles.
Nothing went to waste from my grandma’s garden, she even made pickles out of watermelon rinds (they’re actually quite tasty!). Salads were an inexpensive way to dress up the “ordinary” for her family of 5 children and the following cucumber salad was one of my favorites growing up.
I made this the other night for the first time for my family, using cucumbers the boys had picked fresh from our garden (the skin was a bit bitter which is why I peeled the cucumbers). I can’t even explain the feeling of warmth that overcame me as I watched my picky 4 year old gobble up every last onion slice. This is one of the many blessings I feel I’ve been able to experience thanks to celiac and food allergies, having been forced to slow down long enough to enjoy the pure and simple foods of a time gone by.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I use egg-free, soy-free Veganaise and Earth Balance now makes a similar product called Mindful Mayo, both of these products do contain brown rice syrup, so they will add a little bit of sugar to the salad. You can also make your own corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free mayo)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Dried Dill Weed (or 1/2 tsp. Fresh Dill Weed)
1/8 tsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 medium Cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
1). Mix first four ingredients together until well incorporated.
2). Add cucumber and onion slices, toss to combine.
3). Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
Note: the dressing will initially look really thick, but as the salad sits in the refrigerator, the cucumbers will release some of their water, making a much thinner dressing.
If eggs are okay for you, try making real homemade mayonnaise. It’s super simple, inexpensive and contains no chemical additives (unless, of course you add them yourself). Check out the following recipes:
Making Mayonnaise Gluten Free Girl and the Chef
Paleo Mayo Everyday Paleo
Paleo Baconnaise Paleo Diet Lifestyle (this looks good, bet it would taste great on a BLT)
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