I don’t know if you have ever found a frozen cucumber in the depths of your refrigerator, thanks to a thermostat malfunction. It is not nice. A crisp salad ingredient has become a messy disposal problem. I never thought I would find a recipe for frozen cucumber, but here it is, from The Complete Cook Book (Philadelphia, 1900), by Jennie Day Reese. Your refrigerator disaster might just do for the filling in this dish.
Frozen Cucumber Salad - Original.
Take six large green cucumbers, cut a slice lengthwise from each one, and with a silver teaspoon or your fingers remove the seeds and pulp, and throw the hulls in cold water until ready to use. Peel and chop coarsely two whole cucumbers, add to them the seeds and pulp of the other six and let it stand in salted ice water one hour. Cucumbers should have a thick peeling taken off of them, as they are bitter near the skin.
Now drain the water from them, add two tablespoonfuls of chopped chives, one teaspoonful of grated onion, two tablespoonfuls of chopped celery, one tablespoonful of Durkee's dressing, one cup of mayonnaise salt and tabasco sauce to taste. Color with spinach green and freeze. When frozen stuff the cucumber hulls with it, place them on fresh crisp lettuce leaves and serve at once. It should be a light green when frozen. This is new and beautiful as well as good.
Another recipe in the book mentions the recent (for then) fashion for iced suppers. They sound like a fashion worth reinstating for hot evenings in the tropics – in which case the recipe in question might be worth serving alongside the frozen cucumber.
Iced Parmesan Pyramids.
A favorite savory for the iced dinners that are so popular a whim at present is iced Parmesan pyramids. Roll thin some puff paste, cut in neat squares, and bake in a quick oven. Whip some cream to a stiff froth, flavor with a little cayenne, white pepper, salt and Parmesan cheese to taste; when the squares are cold, pile them with the cream, and place over ice before serving.
Quotation for the Day.
Then a sentimental passion
Of a vegetable fashion
Must excite your languid spleen.
An attachment a la Plato
For a bashful young potato,
Or a not too French French bean!
W.S. Gilbert, in the libretto to Patience (1881)