“A salad demands two things: — its vegetable foundation, and its dressing, both of which may be a good deal varied,” writes Arthur Robert Kenney-Herbert in his 1907 cookbook, Vegetarian and Simple Diet. In this guidebook to vegetarian eating, the author sets out to “show that vegetarian diet need not be marked by ascetic plainness, not restricted to a few uninteresting dishes; that pleasant variety is by no means difficult to bring about, and that the possibilities within the reach of the vegetarian cook are really encouraging.” Salads are no exception, and Kenney-Herbert’s chapter on them offers delightful recipes that rest solidly on vegetable foundations (both cooked and raw).
Endives, young radishes, garden-cress, Japanese artichokes, sea kale, haricot beans and the humble cabbage all make an appearance in Kenney-Herbert’s appetizing vegetal creations. But it is his recipe for an unassuming potato salad that seems most fitting for a meatless springtime luncheon.
Potato Salad (Pommes de terre en salade)
Having steamed the potatoes carefully — they must not be too floury to yield nice slices — cut them in slices and dress as in the foregoing. [Let them get quite cold, put them into the bowl, anoint them with salad oil, and dust them with newly ground black pepper and salt . Lastly, give them a few drops of red wine vinegar and a sprinkling of finely minced tarragon and chives, or green stem of spring onions] With this thin strips of celery may be mixed, and some add a few pieces of beet-root, but I think that this is a mistake, because the juice of the beet-root discolours the salad in an unsightly manner.