Monday, December 15, 2014

Minnesota Musters Its Wits

You heard about #Grapegate, didn't you? 
The New York Times published Thanksgiving recipes from each state, and for Minnesota, they picked Grape Salad (with sour cream & brown sugar, broiled, yet!). Thousands of outraged Minnesotans wrote to complain. 

I happened to see the piece, and while it never occurred to me to write to the NYT about it, I did think it was off.

A recipe with fruit and dairy, sure, but more like this "Fruit Salad" I once ate a ton of at Thanksgiving:
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can pineapple bits
a tub of Cool Whip
1 bag mini-marshmallows

Imagine my delight to see my choice confirmed by Maud Hart Lovelace in Emily of Deep Valley--one of the Deep Valley books, which are practically documentaries of life in Mankato, MN, in the early 1900s.

The year is 1912, and the socially awkward orphan Emily is  is fretting over what to serve a group of girls she has invited over.

She thinks,
"The other girls served such novel refreshments––cheese fondue, shrimp wiggle, rice pilaff, and marvelous concoctions of marshmallow, pineapple, and whipped cream mixed together. They learned about them from their mothers who served such things at luncheons."

Take that, NYT! Minnesota's own Joyce Lamont even has a recipe for a similar Pineapple Molded Salad in her book. >

(Speaking of weird, though, Emily ends up serving friend frogs legs.)
I read Emily of Deep Valley for the first time last night and loved it better than any of the related Besty-Tacy books.
Unlike them, it's quite dark---after high school Emily can't go off to college like the rest of her friends because she can't leave her grandfather who raised her. (He seems to have some kind of dementia--it is mentioned that Emily is used to having the same conversation with him over and over.) 

Once Emily's friends leave town, "Depression settled down upon her, and although she tried to brush it away it thickened like a fog.

She only begins to emerge from it when a Shakespeare line pierces the fog:
"Muster your wits; stand in your own defense."

A good Minnesotan sentiment.  _______________________________________________

[It doesn't matter and Emily never mentions this, but it's from Love's Labour's Lost.]


bink said...

Image how good that "fruit salad" would be with real whipped cream, real cherries, and homemade marshmallows (or the kind you get from Lucia's Bakery.) I suspect the tinned pineapple is the same in 1912, as today. YUM!

Fresca said...

Oh, I'm a month late in responding, but I want to say, yes, yum, I want to make the fruit salad the way you describe, with real, fresh ingredients. Even fresh pineapple!