Cooking Techniques · The Vintage Kitchen

Sue Makes Creamy Salad Dressing

Welcome to Lesson 26 in When Sue Began to Cook. We’re halfway to the end! If you’re just joining us, a click on the linked book title will take you to Lesson 1 so you can follow along with the story. This week Sue makes Creamy Salad Dressing.

Although it contains egg yolks, this is a cooked recipe. Thus, it’s safe to make in the US with store bought eggs. They do not have to be pasteurized.

Salad dressings in the Twenties came in to main flavors: French, which was a very tart vinaigrette (not the red sweet French we know today) and cooked creamy salad dressing like this. I’m usually putting the salads together last thing before dinner, so I whip up a Twenties French dressing and call it a day. This salad dressing is cooked and refrigerated, and then thinned as it is used with cream or milk or unsweetened whipped cream.

Here’s a peek into Sue’s weekly kitchen diary:

Sue’s Diary from Creamy Salad Dressing Saturday

Another warm beautiful day that makes us think of picnics. And picnics, Mother says, mean salads and sandwiches. And salads and sandwiches mean salad dressing. So Ruth Ann and I have been learning how to make it.

A little jar of salad dressing makes a good present, Mother thinks. Ever since she said it, Ruth Ann has been trying hard to thihnk of someone to give her little jar to. I’m afraid Mrs. Rancher will get it in the end, after all. Just at present, though, Ruth Ann is considering whether a lovely little gift of salad dressing mightn’t inspire the McCarthy’s to make some of their own later. I doubt it. We’ve been cleaning house for a week and they haven’t shown any signs of beginning on their house yet. So I’m afraid a good example doesn’t mean much to them.

Speaking of gifts, Mother has just given Ruth Ann a funny one! A little bundle of paper straws to drink milk through. Ruth Ann doesn’t like milk, and never would drink it till Mother had her try it over here through a straw. And she didn’t mind that one bit. As Mother is very anxious to have Ruth Ann grow strong and fat before her Mother comes home, she has given her the straws to use at every meal. Won’t Aunt Ruth be pleased!

Creamy Salad Dressing

from When Sue Began to Cook, 1924.
Course: Dinner, Luncheon, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bettina’s Best Recipes, picnic, Ruth Ann, salad, Twenties recipes, When Sue Began to Cook


  • 1 Double boiler


  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 egg yolks beaten thoroughly. *Note* This is a cooked dressing recipe. It is safe to use yolks from the fridge.
  • cup vinegar
  • cup water
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Mother had us each measure the sugar, flour, salt, and mustard very carefully into the top of the double boiler. Then we mixed it all thoroughly with a spoon.
  • We each put our two egg yolks (Mother used the whites for the tops of two lemon pies) in a bowl and beat them up. Then we added the vinegar and water and kept on beating for a minute.
  • Then we poured the mixture slowly into the flour mixture, stirring with a spoon all the time as we added it. (I mean of course that we stirred the mixture in the top of the double boiler.)
  • When it was all added, we beat it for a minute with the egg beater and then put it over the fire. Of course, we made sure we had plenty of water in the lower part.
  • Mother had us each leave our Dover egg beater in the salad dressing, and as it cooked we gave it a good beating every few minutes.
  • It took only about ten minutes for the dressing to cook; when it was done it was as thick as thick, creamy custard. Just before we took it off the stove we added the butter. That makes it smoother.
  • Ruth Ann and I each poured our dressing into a nice clean little fruit jar that we had first moistened on the inside with cold water. Mother says this keeps the dressing from sticking to the jar. After the dressing was cool, we put the lids on our jars and put our dressing away in the ice box. Ruth Ann is going to take hers home tonight. Mother says salad dressing like this will keep for months if it's stored in a cold place. Before you use it on salad the first thing to do is mix it (just the part you are going to use, of course) with thin or whipped cream.
The Vintage Kitchen

Fruited Cream 1920s Dessert or Salad

Bowl of whipped cream and fruit dessert alongside a small plate with five leaf-shaped dinner mints.
Fruited Cream served up.

Or maybe it’s a Fruited Cream Dessert Salad. If you’re looking for a light and cool dessert for warm weather, look no further. This Fruited Cream recipe from the 1920s fills the requirement. It’s smooth, fruity, sweet, and cold. And Fruited Cream gives us an example of some of the best from the Twenties kitchen.

An early forerunner of the famous ambrosia salad (or infamous, depending on your view), this cream goes together with very few ingredients and not much time. The largest time chunk of the entire recipe is the time that it needs to chill. To blend the flavors well, this recipe needs to cool in the refrigerator for at least four hours after you make it. Good thing it’s easy and quick!

The Twenties kitchen was known for simple ingredients. These were combined in innovative ways. Sometimes, as in this recipe, those combinations shine. Other times… well, let’s just say there’s a reason nobody makes Sardines and Boiled Egg on Toast anymore. 

A recipe like Fruited Cream was made when the cook wanted to throw a small party. It surfaced as a special salad for a special occasion. This recipe would not appear on the table for a festival like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or another major holiday. Repetition over time scripted those menus. It would, however, be a delightful addition to a birthday lunch.

You need fruit, and cream, and sugar

Four bowls showing ingredients for Fruited Cream. Bowls contain minced strawberries, crushed pineapple, sugar, and cream.
Ingredients for fruited cream dessert.

To make Fruited Cream you’ll need two cups of any fruit. I used 1 cup strawberries and 1 cup crushed pineapple, but you could also use canned apricots or peaches. Or you can even mix the fruit with pineapple, like I did. Peaches with pineapple sounds divine, actually. Especially if you like both fruits equally well.

You’ll also need a cup of heavy whipping cream, vanilla flavoring, and powdered sugar. You’ll mince your fruit (a very fine diced cut). Then whip the cream until very stiff, and stir in the vanilla flavoring and powdered sugar. After that you chill, chill, chill. This needs to chill in the refrigerator for four hours or more to blend the flavors so it tastes like a salad and not like fruit stirred into whipped cream.

Scale it up if you want, but mince it fine

As written, this recipe serves 5. It would taste great served with an iced coffee like the one I wrote about here. However, you can multiply it as many times as you need to feed a small crowd. Fruited Cream should scale well. If you need less than five servings, well… it makes fine leftovers for a couple days. After two days the cream starts to break down. Before then, it tastes great for breakfast with a cup of hot tea or coffee.

When you put this recipe together, you want to make sure that your fruit is minced very fine. A 1/8 inch mince isn’t too small. Most of my strawberries evened out at about 3/16” in size, halfway between 1/8” and 1/4”. I tried to make none of the pieces as large as 1/4”. 

Silver bowl containing mixture of diced strawberries and crushed pineapple.
Mince that fruit! It makes a difference!

The crushed pineapple you can smash with a fork when you drain it, and very little should need to be cut. I found a few pieces larger than 1/4” so I cut them down to the correct size.

All this mincing and measuring-by-eye may seem like a lot of effort for nothing, but it definitely tastes in the finished product. Instead of chunks of fruit in whipped cream, you taste a sweet creamy smoothness from the combination –– but only if your fruit is cut small enough. Remember, this isn’t your grandmother’s 1970s salad where the pineapple chunks compete with the mini marshmallows in a swirl of pistachio-flavored pudding. This is smooth, and creamy, and delightful –– a hallmark of the Twenties kitchen. This Fruited Cream will shine on your table as a dessert or a salad.

Fruited Cream Dessert or Salad

This recipe combines fruit and cream into a sweet concoction much larger than the sum of its parts.
Prep Time30 minutes
Chilling time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert, Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 people


  • Stand mixer or hand egg beater for making whipped cream


  • 1 cup strawberries, minced
  • 1 cup pineapple, crushed
  • ½ tbsp sugar, optional
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar


  • Drain the crushed pineapple and measure 1 cup.
  • Mix the minced strawberries and crushed pineapple in a medium bowl. Add sugar if the mixture isn't sweet enough.
  • Using an electric mixer or a hand-operated egg beater, whip the cream until stiff. Stir in the vanilla and the powdered sugar.
  • Stir the flavored whipped cream into the fruit. Mix well, and chill for at least four hours.
  • Makes 5 3/4-cup servings.