Monday, February 4, 2013

Mormon salads

My friend Stef isn't a Mormon, but she does love Mormon cookbooks, which she peruses with a sense of affectionate (I think) awe and amazement.  She's a first-rate cook--a pastry chef (among other things) by profession--who likes to dabble in all kinds of food genres.

Anyway.  When we made arrangements to watch the Super Bowl together, she left me with this cryptic message:  "I already know what I'm bringing."

I was intrigued.  And, of course, hopeful.  Hopeful that she would bring her great guacamole and home-fried tortilla chips, because those are awesome.  What she brought instead was perhaps even awesome-er.  That strawberry/cream cheese/pretzel "salad" thing that has graced the holiday tables of many, many a Mormon family for the past forty years.

Okay.  Time for a takedown.

First.  Salad.  Don't you love how my people call desserts "salads"?  Obviously we like to trick ourselves into thinking we're eating something healthy when we do that.

Second.  I always wonder how certain dishes came into being.  Like, who woke up one morning and went, "I know!  Pretzels and cream cheese and Cool Whip and strawberry Jell-O (with frozen strawberries thrown in) WOULD TASTE SO DAMN GOOD TOGETHER!

Third.  As is often the case with these things, it tasted shockingly divine.

Mormons are geniuses when it comes to salads, don't you know.


Lisa B. said...

I have scoffed lo these many years at the jello salad concept. Once after I had a baby, my visiting teacher brought a meal with green jello clearly meant to play the "salad" role, by virtue of its greenness. It was a good dinner, and also kind of ineffably funny. So no. Jello doth not a salad make...except that thing with the pretzels and strawberries, etc., is ridonkulous. so good.

Dr Write said...

I want to understand better where the pretzels and strawberries are in relation to each other. Please to explain.
Also, Mormon salad sounds better than Russian salad, which is basically just mayonnaise.

Louise Plummer said...

I still love those old salads. My favorite is green jello with pineapple and cottage cheese.

Holly Robinson said...

Mmmmm...salad! My Grandmother makes one with apricot jello, pineapple and shredded cheddar cheese--so weird and strangely delicious.

Kim Woodruff said...

@ Dr Write--My grandma used to make this salad. There's a crust on the bottom with crushed pretzels and butter, then a layer of a cream cheese/cool whip mixture, then a layer of berry flavored jello and berries.

Emma said...

Sooooo many of these "salads" are served at Thomas dinner gatherings, which is why we (the Dave and Becky) girls always bring real salads to the party. Our mother knew the difference and she made sure we did too. Jello was not at all her thing, but you probably already knew that!