Yesterday's Menus

Cooking up retro menus from vintage cookbooks

1978, 1987 and 1991 Exposé: The “Salad”

I’ve mentioned numerous times how much I love community cookbooks.  But they often hold a dirty little secret in the salad section.  The “salad.”  You know the one I mean:  the Waldorf, the Watergate and the Fluff.  “Salads” where the only green to be found is made of yellow #5 and blue #1.  Come on ladies. You know they belong in the dessert section, but there they are in the salad section.

Okay, I love “salads.”  Acres of fluffy, sweet deliciousness!  My mother’s signature salad was of the fluff variety:  Cool Whip, cottage cheese, lime jello and pineapple tidbits.

To start my in depth coverage of the “salad,” I turned to three mid-western community cookbooks:

The 1987 A Samplin’ of St. Mary’s by the ladies at the St. Mary’s Catholic Youth Organization of Wichita, KS


the 1978 Favorite Recipes by the Scottish Rite Ladies of Kansas City, Missouri


and the 1991 St. Mark’s Church Family Cookbook by the Christian Couples Class of Lincoln, Nebraska

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Shockingly, I’ve never had Watergate Salad, so I decided to remedy that situation with this submission by Doris Heillman:

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Wow, these salads are going to be a photographer’s dream!  It was incredibly delicious despite the lack of visual appeal.

Watergate Salad

9 oz. carton Cool Whip

3 3/4 oz. pkg. pistachio instant pudding mix

1 lb can crushed pineapple w/ juice

1 c. miniature marshmallows

1/2 c. chopped or crushed nuts, any kind (I used almonds)

Fold dry pudding mix into whipped topping.  Add pineapple, juice, marshmallows and nuts.  Refrigerate.  Can be done the day ahead.  Serves 8 to 10.  (Favorite Recipes)

Next up, a salad with tantalizing name of Pink Champagne Salad.

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Unfortunately, there was no champagne involved, but plenty of yum.  I did reduce the sugar to 1/2 c., but it could probably be lowered or eliminated since there was plenty of sweet.

Pink Champagne Salad

1 (8 oz.) pkg. soft cream cheese

3/4 c. white sugar

1 can chunk pineapple, drained well

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed (use juice)

2 bananas, sliced

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

1/2 c. chopped pecan nuts (optional)

Combine and mix well the cream cheese and sugar, then add  pineapple, strawberries, and bananas, stir, then stir in Cool Whip and nuts.  Chill until ready to serve.  Judy Spiehs

Shoot!  I forgot to take a picture of the next one, but see previous pictures–exactly the same look but with an orangish ting.  Here are the ingredients though:


This one was good, but not amazing.  I wouldn’t really make this again.  But the real question on this one is what was Roberta doing submitting Debbie’s recipe.  Hmmm….

Debbie’s Peach Bavarian Jello Salad

1 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon jello

1 (29 oz.) can sliced peaches

2 c. Cool Whip

1/4 tsp. almond flavoring

1/4 c. sugar

dash of salt

1 c. boiling water

Drain peaches, reserving 1/3 cup syrup.  Chop peaches; dissolve jello, sugar and salt in boiling water and add reserved syrup.  Chill till slightly thickened.  Blend almond flavoring into Cool Whip.  Gradually blend Cool Whip into jello, then fold in peaches.  Pour into 5 cup mold.  Chill 4 hours.  Roberta Vernon (A Samplin’ of St. Mary’s)

Now a trip to the land of the ill advised.  I saw this recipe for Pimento Cheese Salad and thought eww, but then wondered if it was the type of thing that was so weird, it was good?  Answer:  No.  Doris, I’m very disappointed in you.  I’m now imagining you as a elderly lady with taste buds killed by 50 years of chain smoking.  There isn’t any other good explanation for this.


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Pimento Cheese Salad

2 env. Dream Whip

1 c. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 (5 oz.) jar pimento cheese

1 c. pineapple tidbits

1 1/2 c. miniature marshmallows

Whip together first 3 ingredients until like whipped cream.  Add pimento cheese and whip together.  Fold in pineapple tidbits (drained) and miniature marshmallows.  Let set several hours or overnight.  Doris Davidson (A Samplin’ of St. Mary’s)