Minnesota Salad

My mom went to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with her parents and siblings this year. Joe and I stayed in the Bay Area and had deep-fried turkey at a friend’s house. I also made Minnesota Thanksgiving salad (which is a very Midwestern type of dish) that my grandma always included for Thanksgiving dinner. I had to make it for myself, because I wasn’t in Minnesota to eat Grandma’s.

Minnesotan cuisine is characterized by ‘hotdishes’ and salads that are sorely lacking in leafiness, but full of jello. This particular salad contains chopped fresh cranberries, in keeping with the Thanksgiving theme. It also contains marshmallows (instead of jello), crushed canned pineapple, sugar, whipped cream (or Cool Whip, to be authentic), and chopped walnuts. It may sound more like a dessert, and it look dismayingly like the mayonnaisey salads you see in a deli case, but it tastes really good. It’s not too sweet, and tastes even better the next day (more time for flavors to meld) with leftover turkey. The funny thing was after I made it, the smell of it instantly transported me to Grandma’s kitchen, like Proustian-madelaine deja-vu.


2 thoughts on “Minnesota Salad

  1. if consolidated, heated-up leftovers are “hotdish” than why not just call jello salad “cold dish”? or is this something beyond explaination like gov. ventura…

  2. Did you make up this term of Minnesota Cousine? I don’t remember eating anything thing other than steak or Asian food. But, you are right about how much we all loved this “Minnesota salad” which I have always called “cranberry salad”. ON this trip, grandma make two times as much but forgot to bring them out at the family dinner the following day at her place until we almost finished eating. Uncle SF then ate it over rice. (He is a ham.) The rest of us had several servings and have more to take home. I love eating it out of the container the next morning.

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