Days of inexperience, when persons are very green.
My salad days.
When I was green in judgment.
Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, i. 5.
A pen'orth of salad oil.
A strapping; a castigation. It is a joke on All Fools' Day to send
one to the saddler's for a “penorth of salad oil.” The pun is between
“salad oil,” as above, and the French avoir de la salade,
flogged.” The French salader
are derived from
or saddle on which schoolboys were at one time
birched. A block for the purpose used to be kept in some of our public
schools. Oudin translates the phrase “Donner la salle à un escolier”
by “Scopar un scolari innanzi à tutti gli altri.” (Recherches
Italiennes et Francoises,
part ii. 508.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894