Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ohio: A state of confusion

Ready for some Favorite Recipes of Ohio: Family Edition (eds. Audrey M. Johnson, Boone T. Boies, and Dr. Vivian Roberts, 1964)?

The cover led me to believe that Ohioans in the '60s were really crazy about chicken (Roasted chicken! Chicken with cherries, green grapes, and onions! Chicken strips and rice! Maybe a mid-century interpretation of moo goo gai pan?! Chicken legs with the doofy paper frills! If you look closely, there's chicken wire in the background, too!), but the acknowledgments page credits the National Broiler Council for the cover photo. Cover notwithstanding, the actual recipes seem like they could represent a slice of a mid-westernish state.

I wasn't surprised to see "salads" that were clearly a stand-in for dessert:

I'm pretty sure you couldn't even get away with the name "Gumdrop Salad" today, much less marshmallows, gum drops (no licorice!), and whipped cream as a salad just because it had some canned fruit and white grapes in it.

However, I was super-excited to find this seemingly (relatively) ordinary recipe:

What makes this somewhat-ordinary-for-the-time "salad" of fruit cocktail, cream cheese, and marshmallows so thrilling? The note at the end finally tells me how to tell a salad and a dessert apart! If it's salad, serve it on a lettuce leaf. If it's dessert, just omit the lettuce! It all makes sense now. (Okay, not really, but I do love this explanation anyway.)

Maybe because their salads are so often desserty, these Ohioans seem afflicted by weird cravings. For example, I always thought organ meats were something people ate because they were cheaper than other meats, or because they lived on farms and had to eat everything-- not just the most desirable cuts of the cow. This recipe suggests otherwise:

Mock Sweetbreads: for when you're really craving a thymus, but you've only got ground veal and pork!

A land that prefers sweetbreads to veal and offers a mound of gumdrops when you ask for a salad will of course have its own interpretation of what "Some Mores" might mean. Here, it doesn't translate to graham, marshmallow, and chocolate s'mores. Some-More is the main dish:

In Ohio, "Some More" might be ground beef, celery, onions, instant rice, cream soups, and chow mein noodles.

If you're from a family of miners, you might leave out the second m to come home for Some-Ore:

Okay-- it's pretty much the same thing, and not sprinkled with rocks as I feared it might be....

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed wandering through a state where "Some More" is the main dish and you'll have to figure out whether something is a salad or dessert by checking it for lettuce.


  1. Some More, Some-Ore. Some More, Some-Ore. Some More, Some-Ore. I am in way over my head.

    1. I just love how Some-Ore makes it look like you're going feed the family lumps of iron or something....

  2. I've heard about midwestern dessert salads, but didn't believe it until I visited Wisconsin and was helping someone put together dinner. She asked me to do the fruit salad for which she'd already gotten out the ingredients. There were colored marshmallows and Cool Whip.
    It was not bad, not bad at all.

    1. Yeah, a lot of them aren't bad. I'd never call them salads, though!

  3. After years of listening to people obsess over ranch dressing (and the rumored ranch keg being made by one company), it's kind of refreshing to remember the sweet "salads". I still wouldn't eat either version, but it's a nice change of pace.