Summer is quickly winding down in New England, and I’m not even a little bit sad about it. Most people, it seems, feel a little sad this time of year as the days get shorter, the sun shines a little less, and the warm air turns cold. But, not me! I spent the last five years in Florida – the land of perpetual summer – and I’ve missed the north, seasons, and cold air.
I’m not going to complain about living in Florida. I got my life together there. It was exactly what I needed when I moved there – a fresh start without a safety net. I had to figure out who I was and what I wanted fast so that I could meet people, find a routine, and start a life. And, I did that. But, now that I’ve figured a lot of things out, I’m happy to be back up north. And, I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
You know what was best about moving back north? I got to re-learn everything I love. I got to re-experience it for the first time. In the early summer, I got to feel chilly mornings that turn into hot days. I got to breathe in the smell of fresh rose gardens. I got to see people dragging out lawn mowers for the first time in months. I got to see the last of the melting snow. I got to see lightning bugs. Now, as the summer turns to fall, I get to see the leaves changing and smell the scent of smoke in the air from wood fires. I get to feel the misty rain that only happens during a northern fall. I get to see the way smoke hangs in the cold air above the brick chimneys that puncture the sky.
So, what are we cooking? Waldorf salad from The Mississippi Cook Book of New Southern Recipes published in 1922.
Now, like most of these recipes, I cut down the portion. Old recipes made enough for WAY more than just two people, which is how many I’m used to cooking for! I cut this recipe in half, and it still made an entire mixing bowl full. Luckily, we like leftovers.
So, let’s go – into the kitchen and make some history!
Here are our ingredients: Butter, flour, sugar, milk, white vinegar, salt, an egg, apples, celery, and pecans.
Step 1: First, we need to make the sauce that will go on the Waldorf salad. Crack the egg into a saucepan and then measure out the milk. Pour that in, too, and then whisk the two ingredients until combined.
Step 2: Then, add in the butter, vinegar, sugar, flour, and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk everything together and turn the heat on to medium-high. Keep whisking constantly while the sauce cooks.
Step 3: After five or six minutes, you’ll have a thick, creamy sauce. Take the sauce off of the heat and let it cool. Go outside and take a walk white you wait, or read a book, or do something you’ve been putting off!
Step 4: Once your sauce has cooled, you can start making the salad. First, the apples. I used a nice, sweet Gala apple. Wash your apples. I didn’t peel mine, but you can peel yours if you’d like. Now, chop them. I tried to show the stages of chopping my apples here. Cut the apples in half, then in half again so you have quarters. Then, cut the core out of your quarters so you have a flat surface to flip them onto. Cut the quarters into slices, then cut the slices in half length-wise. Finally, chop the slices into nice even pieces.
Step 4.1: Put all your chopped apples into a mixing bowl as you go. See how easy?!
Step 5: Then, chop up some celery to add. Now, I’m not a big fan of celery, so I only chopped up three stalks. Use as much or as little as you’d like!
Step 6: And, add the celery and some chopped pecans (I just used chopped pecans from a bag) to your apples.
Step 7: Then, pour that lovely sauce you made over the apples, celery, and pecans. If your sauce seized up a little bit and became lumpy as it cooled, no worries! Just whisk it vigorously until it smoothes itself out, then pour it into the mixing bowl.
Step 8: Fold everything together, cover, and chill it until you’re ready to eat it!
Final step: Enjoy! I thought Waldorf salad would be a good bridge between summer and fall. It’s a cold, crisp salad good for a summer day, but it’s made of nice fall flavors – apples, celery, and pecans. You know what you should do? Grill. Go out in the cool weather and grill some chicken or some hamburgers. Then, eat this Waldorf salad with whatever you make. Enjoy the fall air and take in the last of summer, too. That sounds perfect.
From 1922: Waldorf Salad
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 Tbs. salted butter
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tbs. (heaping) sugar
- 1 Tbs. flour
- 3 sweet apples (like Gala), washed, cored, and chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2.25 oz. (1/2 cup) pecans, chopped
- Whisk together the egg, milk, vinegar, butter, salt, sugar, and flour in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and whisk constantly for five to six minutes until a thick, creamy sauce forms. Remove from heat, let cool.
- Once sauce is cool, prepare salad: Add apples, celery, and pecans to mixing bowl.
- Pour sauce over the top. Fold to combine everything.
- Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or until ready to eat.