Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) Today, we are going to be trying out a recipe from pioneering screenwriter and director Frances Marion.
Marion may be well-remembered today for her witty scripts (Dinner at Eight, for example) but she also tried her hand at directing. Getting conked on the head with a light on the set of Song of Love turned her off to the idea of holding the megaphone (not sure I blame her) but she continued her wildly successful writing career for many years after.
I have to give Marion credit. You have to respect her for absolutely not taking her cookbook assignment seriously. She’s a busy woman! She’s churning out scripts in both quantity and quality and now they want a recipe too? Okay, buddy, here’s your recipe. Tomato Nut Salad. You take tomatoes. You take nuts. You have a salad.
I can respect this. But let’s see how good the recipe is.
The original recipe:
“Sour cream dressing can also be used for other kinds of salads.” Really? This exotic “sour” cream has other uses? I am so happy they told me this, I never would have figured it out on my own.
I did not make my own sour cream. Out of respect for Frances Marion’s legacy of laziness (in the best way possible) I just went to the dairy case and bought the stuff ready-made. Ha! Take that, Photoplay! I also did not garnish it with parsley because I forgot. I used good cherry tomatoes as the larger varieties looked vaguely anemic. I sliced them in half as I did not relish the idea of chasing rolling little spheres around a plate with my fork.
It came out looking pretty nice, I must say.
Here is my taste test video:
My Rating: 3 out of 5. With such a simple recipe, it all comes down to your ingredients. Good tomatoes and fresh walnuts? It should be okay. I have to say, though, I did not really care for the tomato-walnut combination. I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t a pairing I ever would have made on my own. I think the astringent quality of the walnuts fights with the acid of the tomatoes.
This recipe garners a solid so-so from me. It’s not amazing in a bad or good way. Just okay.
Can it be improved? Yes! I substituted a Pink Lady apple for the tomato and thought it was absolutely killer. Kind of a deconstructed Waldorf Salad. I have actually been eating this for breakfast lately. Any crunchy, tangy apple will do. I can see it working with Fuji, Jazz, Honeycrisp or any other tasty little apple the stores might carry. This would have been a 5 star recipe if Marion had called for an apple.
I love tomatoes (they are my favorite produce-of-questionable-botanical-category-due-to-old-tariff-laws) but this recipe was made for apples.
Variations: If you or someone you want to prepare vintage salads for are unable to eat dairy, you can try this recipe with vegan sour cream. (This recipe contains soy. Just saying.)