Well, what do we think of the recent New York Times article on Thanksgiving dishes evocative of our fifty states? I don’t know….they seemed to be somewhat on track with the two states I’ve lived in as an adult, but they really went off the rails with Minnesota. You’ll see.
Their pick for Massachusetts was Clam and Chourizo Dressing. Okaaay. There is a large Portuguese population in the Bay State, and the spicy sausage is readily available in any grocery story. And clams? Well, certainly they are a New England culinary mainstay. I don’t recall ever seeing the two combined in a Thanksgiving dressing, but who knows? Maybe in the twenty-plus years since moving from New England, things have changed more than I realize.
And I’d say they nailed it for Virginia. Corn Pudding. Some variation of this seems to be on most Virginians’ Thanksgiving tables from what I’ve seen over the years.
I have two siblings in Colorado so naturally I checked there too. The pick for that state is….get ready….Pecan Pie Bites with Gravy. Because, you know, marijuana is legal there now. And evidently the entire state is undergoing a massive case of the munchies. I can just see my sister rolling her eyes at this selection! Does this sound as revolting to you as it does me?
But nothing prepared me for Minnesota where the roots run deep on the American side of my family. When I think back to the meals served by my Grandma Helen, some sort of Jello salad was always on the Thanksgiving table and that’s what I expected to see in the article. Nope. They picked “Grape Salad” of all things. Seriously? This just seemed wrong. Strawberry Jello with marshmallows and little mandarin oranges? Yes, I remember that. And then the year Grandma made green Jello with PEAS and little bits of celery? That made a lasting impression on a horrified little girl.
So I had to laugh when I saw what a furor the grape salad selection has caused in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. There is quite a tempest in the culinary teapot evidenced by this hilarious letter from an outraged Minnesotan:
Dear New York Times,
What the hell is “grape salad”?
All of Minnesota
I’m chuckling, too, because I made grape salad just last month when two friends came for lunch, and both of them asked for the recipe. Like any grassroots recipe, no two versions are the same. Here’s mine:
Controversial Grape Salad
- Pluck as many red or green seedless grapes off the stem as you think will serve your guests. Wash and dry them.
- In a bowl, combine sour cream and brown sugar until it tastes nice and sweet. Add a bit of vanilla, if you like.
- Fold the grapes into the sour cream mixture and refrigerate.
- Toast a bit of shredded coconut. Find your bottle of Kahlua.
- When ready to serve, spoon about half an individual serving amount into a pretty bowl. Sprinkle a little coconut over the grapes, and then pour a little Kahlua on top. Add the second half of the grapes, garnish with a bit more coconut and another nice drizzle of Kahlua. Repeat.
- Serve with confidence!
By the way, my two friends who came for lunch hail from Georgia and Texas. They both loved the grape salad. Uff Da!
Please do let me know what you think of your state’s recipe pick! You will find your state in the little “Jump to” box under the headline of the article.