I grew up on a farm in Michigan, and was part of a big family. When my mother prepared supper, a lot of things went into it, to make things stretch and feed a lot of hungry folks. She would have a main dish/entree (meat/fish), a starch (rice, or noodles, or potatoes), a vegetable side, a plate of bread (with butter on the table), a salad of some sort (varied), and a bowl of different kinds of pickles that she made (and sometimes olives when we had them). We often had dessert too (cake, cookies, pudding, pie, cheesecake).
One of the salads that we had often, was cucumber salad. She made it often and never measured anything! We grew cucumbers on our farm, so they were plentiful. My life has taken me far from farm ways, but cucumbers are readily available at groceries, farmers’ markets, and co-ops and they are inexpensive to boot. I still make it. Once a week I usually make a huge batch, and store it in a large lidded container in the refrigerator. It keeps very well.
The batch I put together today was put together the same way. No measuring. I peeled seven cucumbers (because this is how many I had), cut them in half, then cut them into chunks. I peeled two medium sized onions, cut them in half, and sliced them very thin. A good splash of oil. Couple of generous splashes of vinegar. Several shakes of black pepper. A little bit of white sugar. Mixed everything in a huge bowl with my (very clean) hands. Put the salad in a lidded container and made sure to pour in every last drop of the vinegar/oil. That’s it! Taste one when you make it, trust me, you’ll know when it is just right.
Use whatever oil and vinegar you have on hand, or prefer. Omit the pepper and use other spices if you want. If you’re avoiding white sugar, use a different sweetener (the purpose of it is to take the “bite” out of the onions and the vinegar), or skip it all together if you don’t want it. However you want to make it, is fine, you’re the one eating it!
A variation of this salad is to prepare as above, but slice the cucumbers very thinly (versus chunks or thick slices), and add sour cream, mix well, chill. Mom called these “fancy”. You can also use mayo or salad dressing in lieu of sour cream.
You can also change it up and add different kinds of vegetables that react well with vinegar (don’t get terribly soggy), for color and taste. Tomatoes, carrots, different colored bell peppers, different colored onions, whole kernel corn (from a can – drained, frozen – defrost first), chick peas….so many ways to change it up. Have fun with it!
Personally, I feel that some things don’t need complicated recipes with big words and step-by-step instructions. Cucumber salad is one of them.
You can’t beat inexpensive, easy to prepare food. It frees up your time and your pocketbook will love you.