Heavenly Salad was my mother’s go-to dish.
It was a concoction of fluff, cherries, pineapple bits, nuts, and minature marshmallows. The recipe was straight out of the sixties. At our house, no formal meal was complete until the Heavenly Salad was lovingly arranged in its own crystal bowl, just left of the main dish, tucked in next to a candlestick. We ate it like it was ambrosia. I can’t remember a single holiday meal that it wasn’t on the menu. Even after we married, Heavenly Salad became a part of our holiday meals alongside my mother-in-law’s orange salad. It always amused me that my Tennessee in-law’s favorite fluff salad was UT orange. Coincendence? I think not.
This year, my family will gather for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. Her menu will feature the same traditional dishes that have always graced our table. There will be a gigantic bird, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans (from her garden), deviled eggs, and macaroni and cheese. We’ll have that Rockwell moment, where we all look at the food before us and give thanks. When I called her to ask what I should bring, she said, “You make the Heavenly Salad.”
Great. The sister that has all but eliminated processed food and processed sugar is supposed to buy the crap that makes up this so-called salad? But I agreed and mentioned that perhaps I could sneak in some turnip greens. She chose to overlook my suggestion; after all, turnip greens aren’t a traditional Hailey Thanksgiving dish. Ever since that phone call, I’ve pondered just how I was going to tell her that this year, it’s time we ditch the Heavenly Salad. I know when I suggest it, it will send her off her rocker. Great wails of despair will come from kids who devour it. Everyone will feel deprived. Well, almost.
So what do I do? Do I make it so that everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and a sugar coma? Or do I use this moment establish new traditions? It won’t be easy. More than likely, I’ll cave in and make the darn stuff. After all, my sister is under enough stress already with tackling this holiday feast. And does it really matter? Probably not. And I certainly don’t have to eat it.
I wonder what a little bit of kale will do for it?
Heavenly Salad by Marcella Griffin
Featured in Countryside Recipes
Printed in 1962 by the Providence Rural United Methodist Women
2T lemon juice
Cook and stir completely. Will be lumpy. Place in bowl. Fold in the following ingredients and chill.
1 lg can of crushed pineapple
1 package of mini marshmellows
1 c pecans pieces
1 pt whipped cream