Today is National Absurdity Day. Seems fitting, given the insanity in America today. This is the day when oddness and weirdness reins supreme. In searching for something absurd to share, I had to agree with the National Day Calendar’s retelling of events that took place in America between 1913 and 1920.
Before 1913, the US Postal Service delivered letters. To deliver goods, packages, products and so forth, individuals and companies had to use private services. At times, this was expensive. Rural residents did not have access to the same goods and services as the city folks. All that changed in 1913; when the US Postal Service began accepting items of up to 11 pounds. I’m not sure what possessed a couple in Ohio to take advantage of this change, but they decided to mail their baby son to visit his grandmother. The cost? 15-cents. And it wasn’t as though Grandma lived far away. It was a distance of just a mile, but it was in mid-January.
In 1914; the weight limits for mailed packages increased. And so it was that in February of 1914, five-year-old May Pierstorff traveled 73 miles from her home for the cost of 53-cents in stamps. The following year six-year-old Edna Neff set the record, traveling by railway mail train, she was mailed from her mother’s home in Florida to be with her father in Virginia. The distance was just over 720 miles and cost Mom a whopping 15-cents in stamps. Although the practice of mailing children to relatives wasn’t widespread, there were more inquiries than actual deliveries. One such inquiry came from a ground seeking to find homes for orphans in other areas. In June of 1920 it was rules that children did not come under the classification of harmless live animals requiring no food or water while in transport and therefore children could not be sent via parcel post.
What does all this have to do with a salad? Nothing. I just felt like chatting about strange moments in history. And I found it absurd that I have never shared my favorite recipe for an Italian Salad that was inspired by the folks at Olive Garden.
Romaine Italian Salad with Creamy Dressing
The Salad Dressing
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
2 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon Romano Cheese
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Mix all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. Transfer to small serving pitcher or salad dressing bottle and chill until ready to use.
2 bunches Romaine Lettuce
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
1 small Red Onion
8 pickled Pepperoncini Peppers
Creamy Italian Dressing as desired
Handful Shaved Parmesan cheese
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Scatter into a large salad bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half, scatter over the lettuce. Peel and thinly slice the onion into rings. Break apart and scatter over the salad. Add the pepperoncini peppers whole. Toss to blend. Chill until ready to serve.
Just before serving, add croutons, drizzle with salad dressing; toss to coat. Serve with shaved Parmesan Cheese and additional dressing on the side.
Pass the pepper mill around the table if desired.