Appalachian Food

Granny’s Easy Summer Salad

Granny's Easy Summer Salad

Come summer time, you can count on Granny having the salad above in her frig or on the table if you’re sitting down to eat. It’s one of those things I’ve always taken for granted.

The other evening me and Chatter were hungry. It had been a long day, Chitter was gone with a friend, The Deer Hunter was gone on a trip and neither me nor Chatter wanted to fix something for supper. So we do what we always do when that situation arises? We head down the hill to Granny and Pap’s to see what they have to eat.

As I was filling my plate with Granny’s good supper, I realized she probably learned to make her summer salad from someone, so I asked her.

There were 11 children in Granny’s family, 9 lived to adulthood. Granny was the 3rd youngest of the bunch. So by the time she came along some of her older siblings had already moved out, married, and had children.

Granny used to spend part of the summer with her sister Dorothy in Gastonia, NC-we called her Aunt Dot.

Granny babysat for her sister and helped out around the house, but mostly she felt like she was getting to go to the big city and live the high life.

Granny said Aunt Dot served the salad for supper almost every day. Granny said she just loved it so she asked Aunt Dot where in the world she learned to make it? Aunt Dot said “Why Mother made that for us all the time when we were little. Don’t she make it for you and the rest of the bunch at home?”

For whatever reason, their Mother had quit making the salad by the time Granny came along, but thanks to Aunt Dot the simple recipe survived and was passed along so that I might enjoy it my whole entire life.

To make Granny’s Easy Summer Salad: dice up an onion-some cucumbers-and tomatoes. Toss them all in a bowl; salt to taste and put it in the frig for a couple of hours. All those great flavors of summer marry together into a sort of relish. Granny says it makes all the other food taste better  and I agree with her. The simple salad adds a brightness to a meal that might otherwise be the same ole same ole.



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  • Reply
    Katy Ravensong
    July 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    It’s been awhile since I’ve left a comment but I do get your email updates. I lived in the vicinity of Gastonia for 30 years before I came back home to the TN mountains, and am not far now from western NC.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Mmmm, that does sound good. My tomatoes need to get busy!!!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Yummy Tipper! Now I know what I will be making tonight for supper 🙂
    And for you and the Blind Pig gang . . .Here is one of my favorite cold summer salads that I usually take to “bring a dish” gatherings in the summertime:
    2 cans of corn chilled & drained.
    Chopped green, red or yellow bell pepper – I like the green to always be in the mix.
    Seeded and diced cucumber.
    Diced Tomatoes.
    Sweet Onion diced finely.
    Just enough mayo to moisten it all and a little squirt of ballpark mustard.
    Add a touch of basic curry and a pinch or two of sugar – how much depends on the sweetness of the onions & peppers mostly.
    Chill thoroughly in the fridge. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Granny’s easy summer salad looks so good. It sounds simple to make. When our tomatoes ripen, I want to make this salad. It really sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I thought I was the only one who ate this. I chop it fine and eat it in the middle of the night on ciabatta bread grlled in olive oil. I put a bit of garlic in mine too or rub the bread with a clove of it. Oh yum.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Good and good for you! In my family we add a splash of olive oil.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 11:36 am

    There’s just no taste like a fresh
    garden salad. I think the onion is
    what tops off the veggies. Just
    can’t wait till my tomatoes get
    ready for a couple slices of loaf
    bread with mayo. A fresh, good
    tasting mader is something you just can’t get at the store…Ken

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    June 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

    This is my favorite salad, but like everyone else, I have my own adjustments. I chop up the tomato and cucumber, salt them and let the whole mess sit until it gets juicy, then add a bit of oregano, some olive oil and wine vinegar along with some crusty bread chopped up. Yummy. Growing up, everyone had gardens in our neighborhood and we kids used to go picking to make tomato and cucumber salad. I just love it!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’d probably add a bit of feta cheese too. Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I love this–usually put a little olive oil & lemon juice on it too. It’s one of my favorite nighttime snacks with the leftover cornbread from supper.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    June 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Such a delicious sounding and easy recipe! I think I will try it. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    June 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Boy o boy that sounds good!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

    B.Ruth-That is what my piece of cornbread is for. It soaks up the tears from the salad. Adding the salt early makes it cry even more which is fine with me as long as I have my trusty crusty cornbread.
    It better if it is last night’s cornbread.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

    If only we had some nice fresh ripe tomatoes from our garden!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

    My Mom made a similar salad in the summer since we always raised a large garden and ate whatever was in season. She often added a little sugar & vinegar adding a great sweet/sour kick to the great flavor of the fresh veggies.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    June 26, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Sounds like something my husband would like. I’d like it without the onions.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Tipper–Ann makes a “summer spaghetti” which uses most of the ingredients in this salad plus spaghetti. Served cold, it is great.
    On a different note, I found Granny’s youthful summers in Gastonia interesting. Ask her if there was ever any talk about the mill strike in the 1920s? It was bitter, there were killings, and Olive Tilford Dargan (who lived in Swain County and wrote a fine book, “My Highest Hill” on that time) visited during the strike and wrote a book on it. She was an interesting woman–basically a communist, yet she somehow managed to win the friendship and trust of her neighbors in the Round Top/Almond area (some of it now under Fontana) where she lived. I think she did so because she didn’t put on airs. She just took mountains folks at face value and realized they had much to offer in lots of ways.
    You should read “My Highest Hill” if you haven’t already done so. She was a real literary talent and a fascinating personality.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. At one time, lots of mountain folks ended up in Gastonia seeking work, just as they would later (1950s and 1960s) journey to Detroit and Pontiac to find jobs.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    June 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Love this and learned it from my Mom. One marinating in my fridge right now : )

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    This was my Dad’s and my Aunt’s favorite! Every summer from the first ripe tomato and cuke till the last off the vines this mixture was always in the fridge and table! I sure wish I could have it, cukes don’t agree with me.. love the taste!! My Aunt Mary called it Fire and Ice salad.. whatever it’s called its delish!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 26, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Tipper, I’ve made that salad, with a slight modification. I learned to make it from my dad.
    I like it best with a sweet onion but dad sometimes used green onions and used the onion tops in it as well.
    To finish it he added a little vinegar and a couple of ice cubes.
    He also sometimes added a little mayonnaise and lemon juice and of course salt and pepper.
    It’s soooo good, especially when you have the tomato, cucumber and onion fresh from the garden.
    Your making me hungry for good fresh from the garden vegetables.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    June 26, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Love this salad! I learned it from my step daughter, and there is a contianer of it in the fridge right now.
    We add just a touch of sugar and splash of vinegar to it at our place.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    June 26, 2012 at 7:18 am

    That salad looks so good…What a great story of its survival…I make a similar salad only I add some green peppers..and maybe a dash of vingerette…The trick is to let it marinate and get really cold..before eating or an hour or so…any longer and it weeps..I add my salt and pepper after it comes out of the fridge…
    Have you ever eaten summer slaw..adding peppers, tomatos, onion cucumbers and shredded cabbage..salt and pepper and mayo…eat right away…yummmm.
    Our peppers, cucumbers, and small tomatoes are making fine salads…even with all the heat.
    We need rain so bad…I am afraid our garden is not going to last..
    Thanks Tipper, great post

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 26, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Sounds wonderful, cool and tasty!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 26, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I’ll have some of that too please. With just a piece of cornbread to sop up whatever juice might decide to run across the plate.

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