Salad Law

According to the writer Giacomo Castelvetro writing in 1614 while exciled in England ‘salad must be well salted, with little vinegar and lots of oil’ and those who sin ‘against this worthy commandment’ deserve ‘never to eat a good salad again’.

I like Salad Law and I adhere willingly to castelvetro’s detailed instructions of how to prepare an excellent salad, the particular care required to choose, clean, wash and dry the leaves, add salt and then oil, toss the salad, add the vinegar, and toss again.  I have recently come across numerous references to Castelvetro, most notably by Jane Grigson in her introduction to the vegetable chapter in English food. She refers to his manuscipt which she notes has been magnificently translated into english and published. She agrees with his demands. Why don’t the english grow more asparagus,? Why are they so suspicious of wild mushroom that grow so abundently? Why do they never drain their salad leaves properly, and then dress them with far to much oil and not enough oil?

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