BARBARA MCCLELLAN

Barbara McClellan

What day of the week is it? Oh, and exactly what day of the month is this? Are you suffering from this syndrome of thinking that every day is Saturday, or maybe Friday? Having taught for so many years, there was never a doubt what day of the week it was. In college, we had a unique way of knowing what each day was (besides various classes being MWF or TTh), but in the dorm we had a rotation of meals that never seemed to change: chicken on Sunday, meatloaf on Monday, etc. I have a feeling that college students would be happy with dorm food now if they could just get back to school in many cases.

Well, I fear that we have gotten in a kind of cooking rut, but I have tried to alter it some. We normally have a soup, salad or sandwich at noon (or whatever hour we have lunch), then something with a protein and lots of vegetables at night. The first recipe I am going to share with you today is one that I have not made in years. I grew up with a “gardening mother” and we almost always had fresh vegetables growing in spring, summer and fall. The spring ones — lettuces, spinach, fresh greens — of all sorts were my favorite. My mother made fresh spinach and leaf lettuce salads often. As with many of her recipes, I did not get this recipe written down before she died when I was 28 years old. Now, right this minute, get all the old family favorites before it is too late, from a mother, grandmother or other relatives. Some of them will tell you that they do not have a recipe. Yes, they do, even though it might not be written. If you can, watch them make your favorite thing and write down what they do. I know that it might not be possible to do right now, (not every grandmother “Zooms”), but at the next possible moment, do it! You cannot know how much it will mean in years to come.

We did not get Mother’s recipe for Spinach Salad, but I watched her make it often and was able to put together a reasonable facsimile.

We had this for lunch one day last week.

My Spinach SaladIngredients

About 1-quart fresh spinach, washed, dried, and stemmed

3-4 green onions with tops, sliced or chopped

4 boiled eggs, sliced

4-6 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

Prepare the ingredients above, putting bacon on just before serving.

Dressing:

1/2 cup salad oil (my mother used bacon drippings mixed with oil)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard

Steps

Mix or shake in a jar all dressing ingredients and pour over salad just before serving. Crumble bacon overall. Makes about 4-6 servings.

Bacon frying is one of my least favorite kitchen duties. Finally, I listened to you and others and cooked it in the oven. I cook a lot, and refrigerate the cooked bacon, and use it within the next week.

Another summer favorite is this healthful, easy mixture.

Cottage Cheese SaladIngredients

24 ounces cottage cheese

1 (1.6 ounces) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

1/2 cup of the following all chopped:

Celery

Green bell pepper

Cucumbers

Tomatoes (add last)

Any other raw vegetables you want

Steps

Mix dry dressing mix with cottage cheese. Just before serving add chopped vegetables

The vegetables make the mixture watery, but you can keep the cottage cheese mixture for several days and add veggies just before serving.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.