Belle and Tilly Abbott’s Salad Dressing

Homemade salad dressings were widely used long before the invention of Miracle Whip in 1933. In fact, oil and vinegar recipes date back thousands of years. In the early twentieth century, when practically everyone had a garden, salads were abundant when local gardens were producing, and practically unheard of in winter. Then as now, they could be made from whatever ingredients were on hand.

From 1913 until 1958, Belle and Tilly Abbott operated Maryboro Lodge as a tourist lodge (with their sister Kate until she died in 1922). Preparing meals back then was very different than the experience of operating a restaurant today. For the entire time that the Abbotts operated Maryboro Lodge they did not have running water, which meant not only that they had to hand-pump water, they also had to heat it up over a woodstove. The sisters would also not have had many of the ingredients that we take for granted today. For instance, they would make their own salad dressings. Though this recipe similar to mayonnaise in its ingredients, the taste is significantly different—and not everyone today would enjoy this vinegary-eggy-mustardy flavour—but tastes were different back then. Presumably, this recipe used butter rather than oil, because it was what they would have had.


  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sugar
  • 1 scant teaspoon mustard
  • 1 level teaspoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons butter


  • Blend together salt, sugar, mustard and flour.
  • Beat in egg and beat to a cream.
  • Stir in milk.
  • Stir in vinegar.
  • Add butter and beat to a cream, then stir over hot water.
  • For a cabbage salad, add a little more flour.

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