The Good Huswifes Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1596

Take your hearbes and picke them very fine into faire water, and picke your flowers by themselves, and wash them all cleane, and swing them in a strainer, and when you put them into a dish, mingle them with Cowcumbers or Lemmans payred and sliced, and scrape Suger, and put into vineger and Oyle, and throw the flowers on the top of the Sallet, and of every sorte of the aforesaid thinges, and garnish the dish about with the foresaide thinges, and hard Egges boyled and laid about the dish and upon the Sallet.

The Modern Version:

1 small head of butter lettuce

1 cup watercress

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves

1/2 cup flower petals (you can use roses, primroses, nasturtiums, chive blossoms, violets, or calendulas, but be sure they haven't been sprayed with insecticides)

1 cucumber, pared and sliced

2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

4 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp brown sugar

Wash the lettuce, watercress, and herb leaves in cold water and pat dry or use a salad spinner; refridgerate. Rinse the flower petals in a bowl of cold water and gently pat dry; refridgerate.

Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and combine with the watercress and herb leaves. Add the cucumber slices and toss to mix.

Mix together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar; stir until blended. Add dressing to the salad and toss until well coated. Gently mix in the flower petals (reserving a few to garnish the salad with). Top the salad with the egg slices and garnish with the reserved flower petals.


The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, 1660

Watercress being finely picked, washed, and laid in the dish with violets ... serve it with good oyl and vinegar and scrape on sugar.

The Modern Version:

1/2 cup fragrant violets (viola odorata), be sure they haven't been sprayed with insecticide.

2 bunches watercress

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

4 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp brown sugar

Rinse the flowers gently in a bowl of cold water and pat dry. Remove the stems and refridgerate the flowers until needed. Wash the watercress and remove the coarse stems. Wrap in a towel and refridgerate until ready to assemble the salad.

Mix the oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar until blended. In a salad bowl, add the dressing to the watercress and toss until coated. Add the violets and toss gently to distribute them throughout the salad.

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This page was designed by Bill Gamber. To contact either Ken Withers or myself with comments or questions, you can e-mail us at Last updated Oct,1995.