In an era of Iceberg, the ruffly Black-Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce my grandparents grew was a revelation. An heirloom still prized for its large lime-green leaves, it’s a beauty, tender but with more character than the mesclun lettuce blends common today. The greens were bathed in a dressing made with bacon fat, kept at the ready in a stovetop stoneware crock. We would pluck radishes and scallions from the garden’s rich black soil at the same time as the lettuce.

(Excerpted from Cheryl Alters Jamison’s article for TABLE Magazine, My Life in Five Dishes. Read her wonderful story…and, of course, try the recipes!)

Wilted Lettuce Salad Recipe

Serves 4-6


12 cups torn leaf lettuce
6 oz smoky bacon, sliced cross-ways into pieces about 1/2-inch thick
2-3 scallions, trimmed of any limp ends and sliced into thin rings
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2-3 radishes, halved and sliced thin
Fine sea salt and freshly milled black pepper


  1. Arrange the greens in a large salad bowl.
  2. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Remove the bacon from the drippings, crumble it, and reserve it.
  3. Add to the drippings the scallions and garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
  4. Add the honey and the vinegar and heat through, stirring until the honey dissolves. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the greens and toss lightly. The greens will reduce substantially in volume.
  5. Sprinkle the bacon over the salad, along with the radishes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from American Home Cooking © 1999 Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

Recipe and Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison / Styling by Merrie O’Donnell and Keith Recker / Photography by Dave Bryce

Make Cheryl Alters Jamison’s Life in 5 Dishes at Home

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Wilted Lettuce Salad

Chile Rellenos

Morning Migas

Apple Pie

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