Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Joy of "Salads"

A friend was cleaning her house the other day and in a stack of old papers found something that she thought I needed: "The Dispatch Cookbook." It's a newspaper insert "cookbook" from the October 14, 1979 edition of The Columbus Dispatch, and the front cover promises it is full of "Penny-Pinching Main Dishes, Salads, Desserts, [and] Holiday Dishes." I leafed through the yellowing pages, genuinely delighted to know that I am the most worthy recipient of cast-off old newspaper inserts, and wondered where to begin. A couple of salads (or should I use scare quotes and refer to them as "salads"?) convinced me that I shouldn't waste these last days at the height of summer on stodgy penny-pinchers. Today we'll look at two chilled recipes with "salad" in the title so we can keep cool and pretend they're healthy even though the ingredients that suggest... well... that we are full of bullshit.

First up:

Banana Peanut Joy! The title alone has me captivated because I'm a peanut butter fiend of the highest order. Loaded full of sugar, butter, whipped cream, and miniature marshmallows, this dish is obviously NOT a dessert because the recipe is in the salad section. (In fact, it won third place in the salad competition. It was not accidentally on the salad page!)

The more I look at it though, the less enthusiastic I am about this, shall I say, saladessert. Apparently to help pull off the illusion that this is a genuine salad, the recipe also calls for mustard and vinegar! I have never in my life eaten a concoction with peanut butter, bananas, and whipped cream and thought, "This could really use some mustard!" (Of course, I have never thought anything could use some mustard, but that is beside the point.)

I'm not sure how the next recipe even gets away with the pretense that it's a salad:

Yes, Amish Crust Salad consists of fruit, gelatin, cream cheese, and whipped topping on a crumbly brown-sugar-and-nut crust. There is no way this is actually a pie because 1. It's made in a 9x12 pan rather than a pie plate and 2. It says "salad" right there in the title. See? Amish Crust SALAD. Clearly this is the healthy course one eats to be polite at the beginning of the meal while waiting for the real dessert to arrive.

Maybe in this case, though, it would be okay to be extra healthy and polite and snag another piece.


  1. I'm pretty pinapples are banned from the Amish community. Too vain! Real Amish salad would be raw rhubarb w/ no sugar :D

    1. And certainly not a decadent nutty crust!