Random recipe #25: Bermuda Salad

I felt very old last week. First, I saw a group of new university students moving into their hostel accommodation and realised I looked like one of their mothers. Second, I got out of bed and put my neck out. Third, I saw several copies of Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook in charity shops.

She was more hippy than hipster, but Mollie Katzen ruled the vegetarian school of eating in the late 1970s and 80s. She was part of a collective (it was the 70s, remember?) who ran a restaurant in Ithaca, New York devoted to good, wholesome food. The hand-lettered Moosewood Cookbook, first published in 1973, reflected that ethos (instead of a table of contents it has a ‘table of contentment’) and went on to become one of the 10 best-selling cookbooks of all time, according to the New York Times. The food, though a little dated in parts, is not unlike that in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, so if you see a copy in a charity shop, snap it up.

Moosewood Bermuda Salad
All that said, I felt a bit nervous when my hand fell on the book’s cracked spine when I was searching for a contender for February’s Random Recipe challenge. I thought of some of the book’s less appealing recipes, like Stuffed Cabbage or White Rabbit Salad (cottage cheese, apples, seeds) and wondered how I would sell those to my dining companions. In the end though, the benign gods of Random Recipes – or at least the beatific Dom of Belleau Kitchen – smiled upon me and we ended up with this gem. It looks a bit messy, but it tastes delicious. Don’t tell Mollie’s crew but we ate it with a roast chicken and it was a very happy match.

125ml apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml extra virgin olive oil
500g green beans, topped and tailed
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup grated cheese
two handfuls fresh parsley, finely chopped

Put the vinegar, salt and pepper and garlic in a large bowl (the serving bowl, to cut down on dishes) and stir well. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the sliced onion and set aside.
Steam the beans until just tender. Drain, then add to the marinade. Stir well and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.
Ten minutes before you’re ready to eat, take the salad out of the fridge. Toss through the parsley and grated cheese just before serving. Serves four.

The instructions in the book are very explicit: “This is a COLOR SALAD. Don’t substitute white onions or cheese or you’ll lose the scheme. Okay?” You’re also supposed to serve it on a bed of red cabbage leaves for added wow factor. I didn’t. As for the cheese, the book specifies colby (ugh!) but we used tasty cheddar. Feta or Parmesan would be good too. The final instruction is to “Garnish Lavishly” with eggs, tomatoes, olives, sprouts, lemon slices or orange slices. You can take a book out of the 1970s, but you can’t take the 1970s out of the book.

Do you have the Moosewood Cookbook? Do you still use it?



  1. February 24, 2013 / 6:11 pm

    The 70s were a golden age and I was fortunate to be a teenager throughout most of the decade. You don't get to feel really old till your son is 26 and your grandson is 2, OMG what happened to my youth! Lovely recipe and hang in there honey you are only as old as the man you feel (oh no that makes me even older!) still feel 17 and a hippy at heart.

  2. February 24, 2013 / 8:29 pm

    I love Mollie Katzen! My mother cooked from it when I was growing up and I stole 'Still Life with Menu' off her when I went flatting. I still make her black bean chilli nearly every week.Those drawings! That lettering! Those paintings!And yeah, when I look through the recipes now I see how progressive she was.She was touting pacific rim way before Peter Gordon came on the scene.

  3. February 25, 2013 / 1:58 am

    The Enchanted Broccoli Forest was one of my first cookbooks – I only bought the moosewood cookbook later so haven't used it as much but I should – this salad looks so colourful and not at all like the stereotypical 70s hippy food! Not that I dislike a lot of hippy food anyway, esp when Mollie drew such cute pics

  4. February 25, 2013 / 2:43 am

    a friend has just loaned me the moosewood and enchanted broccoli books, for eggplant cooking inspiration, and i haven't had time to really delve into them. you have reminded me to look into them to see what the buzz is all about.

  5. February 26, 2013 / 12:32 am

    Now this post really brings back memories. I've never owned the Moosewood Cookbook, but a girlfriend of mine, way back when, used to cook from it all the time (as well as a Cranks book, if I remember correctly). I recall some very fine meals and, to be honest, quite a few fairly terrible meals too. I definitely remember salads garnished with orange slices. I'm off to the local charity shops to look for a copy tomorrow. I wonder what my ex-girlfriend is doing now – probably the CEO of chilled food corporation. Far out, man.

  6. February 26, 2013 / 4:13 pm

    a most excellent post my dear… beautifully written and very funny and with the most wonderful salad at the end to boot… I applaud you and thank you for entering with this gorgeous plate of sunshine xx

  7. February 28, 2013 / 6:48 pm

    Funnily enough, I took a copy of one of my Moosewood cookbooks to read in bed the other night. I love their names. I have the Enchanted Broccoli Forest as well as the Original book. I love the hand written words and illustrations and there are many very healthy recipes featuring lots of brown rice that I keep meaning to try. This looks like a plate full of sunny food, I do love my old cookbooks!

  8. March 2, 2013 / 10:17 pm

    I feel like I'm missing out, I've never even seen a copy of the Moosewood Cookbook. I will keep an eye out in op shops. The colours in this salad are just beautiful, and I love the garnish suggestions – 70's-tastic!

  9. December 17, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Its really a delicious salad.Tasty & healthier.I liked it so much!!! I neverBefore made this type of salad.Thank so much for sharing.-www.kashishfood.co.nz

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