Sunday Dinner: Waldorf Hotel’s Famous Salad

Summer is here, and it’s time to have fun with relatives, friends and acquaintances. I have written about this before, even recently, but it needs repeating: Be hospitable.

The Bible gives us many examples of hospitality. One is in Acts 2 that says, “Breaking bread in their homes, they shared their meals with unaffected joy.” These were the early believers. As Christians, we should still have that same joy and share our homes and tables not only with Christians but also with others.

One thing you can serve to your guests with confidence that it will be enjoyed is Waldorf Salad.

If I am remembering correctly, my first knowledge of Waldorf Salad came about 200 years ago when, as a teenager, I listened to a radio cooking program with my pencil and paper in hand to write the recipe. Somewhere within the deep recesses of my house, there is a wire-bound notebook filled with handwritten or clipped and pasted recipes, including this one.

Also this week, I saw the recipe in Southern Cooking, published by Ruralist Press in 1928. I think the copyright has expired. I have found recipes with a similar name in three other cookbooks. All were different, but all contained diced apple and chopped celery.

I had not made this really good salad in a long time, until I saw the recipe in “Heavenly Delights,” the cookbook published by Welsh Neck Baptist Church on their 275th anniversary, making it the second oldest Baptist congregation in the state. As is often the case in church cookbook preparation, the committee invited friends of the church to submit recipes, and this one was submitted by Julian and Clara Butler. We thank them and the church for allowing us to use it.

Rev. Eric Sloan has served as pastor of the 125 or so member church for nine years. Organized in 1738. the first church was built near the coast, but after dealing with the rising waters of the Pee Dee River for a few years, the congregation relocated to a nearby hill and built the current church building. The pleasant woman with whom I spoke (Sandra Edwards) is a church volunteer who said such good things about her church that I was almost ready to move my membership there!

Whatever your church’s size, location or age, follow the Bible’s instructions to be hospitable and to show your friendship and love. You don’t have to clean the closets, paint the porch, or wash the windows. Just be a loving friend and perhaps serve them Waldorf Salad, and your guests will always remember the pleasant time they had with you for … Sunday Dinner.

Waldorf Hotel’s Waldorf Salad

1 cup walnut halves
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Pinch of dry mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
2 cups (4-6) tart apples
1-2 cups finely diced inner ribs of celery (white part only, leaves reserved)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches tender greens such as arugula, baby kale or pepper cress (washed and dried)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 4 or 5 minutes until aromatic and lightly browned. Let cool.

Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, both mustards, and the lemon juice in a large bowl. Fold in apples and diced celery. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the salad greens in a large bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice, and toss well.

Divide the greens among four plates. Spoon the apple mixture onto the greens and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and reserved celery leaves. Serves 4 or more.

Have a recipe?