Saturday, July 7, 2018

Is it dessert?

As a scholar of the salad/ dessert divide, I was particularly excited to find another recipe that elaborated on how to tell the difference back in the days when something super-sweet could serve in either function. I already found the "Is there lettuce?" guideline (yes= salad; no= dessert). This salad/dessert recipe from Twickenham Receipts and Sketches (The Twickenham Historical Preservation District Association, Inc., Huntsville, AL, 1978) supplies another rule-- probably less useful in the field, since it has no visible marking-- but helpful in labeling the concoction if one is the cook.

Frozen Date Delight suggests that the pineapple/ cream cheese/ pecan/ date/ whipped cream confection only counts as dessert if it's fortified with a couple tablespoons of sugar. Leave them out, and this sweet and creamy mixture is clearly a salad.

The rule was further bolstered by a recipe from Two Hundred Tasty Treats (Christian Women's Fellowship, Southside Christian Church, Muncie, IN, ca. 1960). Here, the divide is not quite the same (vegetable or dessert?), but the conclusion is similar.

The mixture of sweet potatoes, bananas, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and raisins "is considered a vegetable instead of a dessert, but may be served as a dessert if you like. Add more sugar if using for dessert." It doesn't specify the amount of added sugar to make this a dessert, but based on the preceding recipe, I'll say two tablespoons. That will leave us with a nice, neat rule. If it's pretty sweet, it's not actually dessert unless you add an extra two tablespoons of sugar. Easy!


  1. Desserts or bars, all the ways to trick someone into eating a vegetable or piece of fruit.

    1. At least none of these involve lettuce and chocolate pudding.