As my readers from Texas know, Babe's Chicken Dinner House is a beloved Texas tradition! We went to one of their local restaurants recently with some good friends who were visiting (from Oklahoma). The fried chicken is some of the best I've ever eaten and Babe's creamed corn is Hubby's favorite, but surprisingly, I have a strange addiction to the cold bowl of salad that they put on the table first (food is served family style). I say, "strange" because it is so basic. The salad is simply torn iceberg lettuce in a chilled bowl with a vinegar dressing. I know, it doesn't sound impressive, but like Olive Garden's famous salad, I could just go there to have the "rabbit food"! It is delicious and I could tell that the dressing had oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, but wasn't sure of the proportions, that is...until I was looking through an Edna Lewis (famous chef and expert on southern cooking) cookbook and found her recipe for "Old-Fashioned Dressing". I made it that same evening! It was like having Babe's Honeymoon Salad at home. The rejoicing began; I could make a mason jar of this dressing and keep it chilled in the fridge. You have to try this salad...but don't forget to chill the glass bowl if you want to pretend you're really at Babe's! Oh, and get Edna Lewis' cookbook; this one is The Gift of Southern Cooking and was written with Scott Peacock.
(The Gift of Southern Cooking-page 60)
2 TBSP granulated sugar (I used a little more)
1 tsp salt (I used a little less)
1/4 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/4 C cider vinegar
2 TBSP peanut or vegetable oil (I used canola)
Put all ingredients in a mason jar; screw lid on tightly and shake vigorously. Pour over clean torn iceberg lettuce and toss. For best results, make sure everything is chilled! This dressing can be made ahead and stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to shake well again before using.
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