Back in the 1960’s, an author named Peg Bracken came on the national scene, claiming she “hated to cook.” She was like the Erma Bombeck of the kitchen, dishing out humorous wisdom about food and cooking. She said in a March 1968 issue of “Family Circle” magazine that she didn’t really hate to cook. She was quoted as saying, “I’d rather cook than clean the hall closet or go to the dentist or shorten hemlines.”
She also published a neat cookbook of some of her favorite recipes. She said in a TV commercial: ” I wrote the “I Hate-to-Cook Cookbook” for people like me who don’t think it’s a crime to cook easy if you can cook good.” I thought that was very well put. While I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I know several who’ve never enjoyed it and that’s understandable, just as it is with any other activity.
I came across an article that was published in the September 1982 edition of “Family Circle”, which commemorated the magazine’s 50th anniversary and she contributed an article of some of her best “hate-to-cook dishes.” The recipe I’m passing along today is one of those recipes, which she called “Fancy Sliced Tomatoes”. It’s really a “Layered Tomato Salad”, but she came up with some very creative titles for her recipes, displaying her wonderful humor!
This is a recipe that doesn’t have any exact measurement, so you can make as little or as much as you’d like. It’s one of those recipes that is designed to get you in and out of the kitchen fast. Even if you enjoy cooking, it’s still a good recipe to have when you want to assemble something good and easy and you don’t have a lot of time.
Peg states in the recipe, “This salad should be prepared hours ahead and that’s a plus, because there are enough things to do at the last minute anyway.” And she’s right! You can make this ahead, cover it and chill it until you’re ready to serve it. And it does something to an otherwise plain tomato! You layer the tomatoes with onions, salt, pepper, dried basil, sugar, vinegar and olive oil. Cover it and refrigerate it and that’s that. It’s actually a healthy recipe since it uses fresh tomatoes and olive oil, therefore even a person who’s watching their fat and cholesterol can enjoy this dish. It’s makes a nice change from a regular tossed green salad, too.
Last year, I gave a recipe that also uses fresh tomatoes, which was for “Creamy Tomato Soup”. If you missed this recipe earlier, click on this link and you’ll be able to get it:
Also, usedview.com posted a video cooking demo of how to make “Caprice Salad”, since we’re talking about fresh tomatoes. To see the video, follow this link:
Whether you love to cook or not, this is a easy, tasty way to dress up plain tomatoes! (I wrote the recipe exactly as Peg wrote it in the article!)
“FANCY SLICED TOMATOES” (LAYERED TOMATO SALAD)
- dried basil
- olive oil
Put a layer of sliced unpeeled tomatoes in a shallow pretty bowl about 8-10 inches in diameter, and put a layer of sliced onions (Bermuda, green or what have you) on top of it. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper around, a pinch of basil, a half-teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon each of vinegar and olive oil. Add another layer of tomatoes and onion slices and repeat the seasonings. Keep going in this fashion, depending on how many people you’re serving and how tired you get.