We are having a mini heatwave here in the UK, so thoughts turn to salads.  I am becoming quite a fan of chicory (or endive, depending on where you are in the world) because it turns out to be the kind of thing that will last a while in the fridge when you have forgotten all about it.  Much more dependable than lettuce in that respect.

Because I love Joyce Grenfell so,

I thought I’d have a go at her “149 Special”, found in the stupendous 282 Ways of Making a Salad Book.

I have written about this wonderful book at length, so if you want to know more about it, skip over here. I had a potluck party, and all my chums brought a movie star salad. It was BRILLIANT.

I’m aware that many of my younger readers, or those not based in the UK, may not know who Joyce Grenfell is.  For those folks, I heartily implore you to watch this video.  She is a national treasure.


Joyce is best known to me for her fabulous performance in the St Trinian’s films.

I really want to do one of these as one of my Dinner and a Movie sessions.  I feel a St Trinian’s marathon coming on, so I can choose which one.  I love them all almost as much as I love all of the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marples…

Here’s Joyce’s recipe.

I really liked the way she marinades her tomatoes and then mixes them into the salad at the table.

That would be a nice thing to do at a dinner party, I reckon.  I did as instructed, it was a lovely simple salad to make on a very hot evening,

and I hummed my way through Like a Stately Galleon as I did the minimal washing up. Gliding around my galley kitchen just like a stately galleon.

I was puzzled about the title of this recipe for a while, but thanks to Google, I discovered that Joyce lived at 149 Kings Road for many years.  Maybe I will make a pilgrimage there one day.

It’s a bit strange timeline-wise, though, as 282 Ways of Making a Salad came out in 1950 – maybe Joyce had friends who lived in that block and went she there for salad?!

Here’s a bit from the book Darling Ma which is a collection of letters Joyce wrote to her mother, who was living in the USA in the 30s and 40s.

I love this book with a passion. Joyce’s letters are so funny but also touching as she is writing about many awful things that were going on in wartime Britain.  There are bits and pieces about food, many of which touch on the difficulty of getting nice things to eat due to rationing. I love this bit.

“We went to bed reasonably early but slept late on Christmas Day.  Aunt N. asked us for tea and supper but couldn’t manage us for lunch, so we had a very cosy Christmas dinner with a treat of eggs and bacon and tinned fruit salad!  Doesn’t it sound sad?  It was delicious and a great treat.”

That’s one of the nicest things about Joyce. She took joy in the little things and made the best of everything.  We should all be MORE JOYCE!

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