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Creamy Cucumber Salad (corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

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.  :-D

Creamy Cucumber Salad

printable recipe

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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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Comments

  1. I just love your sharing about your grandmother's salads! One of the hardest things for me to adjust to when I went gluten-free was the things I couldn't share anymore from our family's favorite recipes — so your post warms my heart today! Not to mention the image of your little guy eating that last piece of onion…

  2. Heidi-girl,

    You have a strong personality? Really? =)

    I loved this post and judging by the ages of everyone, I'm probably in your dad's generation. I was born in the 50s and can't remember ever having soda pop at our house during the 50s and 60s. Hmmm? I don't even know when I finally had my first soda. I also don't recall having processed or frozen food other than maybe a package of frozen spinach or a can of beans. Certainly never Twinkies or things like that. My mom cooked.

    And I love it that you're close with your grandmother. Great story, great blog post, great salad!

    I also think it's awesome that you and your red-flamed hair are channeling the 40s. You must get a vintage apron. Check etsy, you can totally pull this off.

    Love this!

    Melissa

    PS I don't quite "get" the Spam salad though. =)

    • Why does EVERYONE say that? LOL! My strong personality must be due to the fact that I'm a first-born. :-D

      As for the SPAM salad, I really don't get it either, I hate that stuff but my late grandpa (gosh, he would have just turned 99 in June had we not lost him in 2006) worked for Hormel. He was actually part of the first work "gang" that made SPAM back in the 30's…before everything was automated and they still shoveled the pork by hand. He was a small man (about 5'7 and weighing all of 140 lbs or so, but he had the biggest biceps!).

      I love listening to my dad tell stories about life in the 40's and 50's, it makes me realize that the lifestyle we live is not "unusual," but rather getting back to way things used to be, the way they should be in my opinion. My aunts and uncles were just as involved in extracurricular activities as kids are today, but there weren't any drive-thrus or frozen meals in a box (and the few that there were, were much to expensive for a typical family to rely on). My grams would always have a pot of soup on the stove or she would make "real" hamburgers for her kids to grab a quick bite before heading off to their respective activities.

      I've realized that my family is not "abnormal" for the way we eat, we've just gone back to basics and are reaping the many benefits of doing so, eating healthier, saving money and spending more time together as a family. Priceless. :-D

      I actually do have a few vintage aprons from my other (late) grandma, waist aprons with lots of ruffles, LOL!

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  1. [...] tells a wonderful story of her grandmother who is 96! 96! She also includes a wonderful sounding Creamy Cucumber Salad Recipe. It sounds so refreshing on a hot summer [...]

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