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The Southern Kitchen Series. Wilted Lettuce Salad

By Shelby Aaron McDowell, Spring 2016

As I walk into the bakery and home-kitchen of Melanie Moore, I’m greeted by the smell of fresh brownies, and an enthusiastic and genuine smile. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the seasonal decorations on the wall create a distinct feeling of home.

Melanie is a second-generation baker and foodie. The home kitchen engenders fond memories for Melanie. It was there that she gained the fundamental skills she would need to become a successful future baker from her mother– the original foodie.

Melanie named the bakery Legacy Foods” in honor of her mother. Her rich, sweet, and wholesome recipes are the same that Melanie continues to follow to this day. Growing up, her mother cooked with fresh vegetables from their kitchen garden, which is a practice she maintains and cherishes. Melanie buys local ingredients, as available, to enhance the cookies, cakes, muffins, and brownies sold in her charming home bakery.

The quality is better, the flavor is better, and it’s more like what you would’ve found when I was a kid,” says Melanie.

With her bakery located conveniently within walking distance of the Main Street Farmers Market, she has access to high-quality, fresh ingredients each week.

Melanie shares her mother’s Wilted Lettuce Salad” recipe in honor of springtime to allow others to enjoy a taste from her roots.

WILTED LETTUCE SALAD

These days, most folks make hot bacon dressing to serve over spinach, but Mom used to make it to pour over a "mess" of leaf lettuce. The bright green curly bunches were one of the first vegetables to "come in" each spring. The jowl bacon from our hogs was the perfect complement to those early greens. Smokey, salty, sweet, sour, wilted but still a little crunchy, this salad is one of my favorite food memories. It tasted great and meant that summer was on its way! 


Serves 4

Ingredients
  • large bunch of local leaf lettuce
  • 2 local green onions
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 6 slices local bacon
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 sliced boiled local eggs

Chop lettuce and put it in a bowl. Chop onions and scatter them on top of lettuce. Sprinkle with sugar. 

Chop bacon into bite size pieces and fry over medium heat. Once bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, saving the grease. Put the bacon on the salad. Meanwhile, make a dressing by adding vinegar to the bacon grease, and bring mixture to a boil.

Once boiled, remove the dressing from heat and pour over the salad. Toss and garnish with sliced boiled eggs.

Serve immediately.