Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ambrosia Salad with a Secret Ingredient?

Ready to  mix!
Ambrosia is a traditional American fruit salad which is thought to have originated in the early 19th century. There are so many variations of this salad across our country. You can add fruit cocktail, grapes, bananas, pecans, whipped cream instead of sour cream, yogurt, honey, as well as other ingredients. The list goes on and on. None of which included the special secret ingredient I copied down from my cousin Helen's recipe.

This Ambrosia recipe is from my father's cousin, Helen Haynes Dreiske. Helen and her husband, Gordon, farmed the Haynes/Dreiske "family" ranch in tiny Keldron, South Dakota (population 11). We visited them on trips out West each summer.  As with most large families, there were often BBQs, dinners, and picnics with lots of food and drink. This is one recipe of several that Helen always made and then gave my mother Abby during our visits. Helen and Gordon have since passed on but I am happy to include her recipes in my blog.

I took the recipe card with me down to the local Piggly Wiggly to pick up the ingredients (my Southern and Midwest friends know this supermarket chain!).  OK OK I actually went down to my "Giant" Supermarket but I just like sayin' Piggly Wiggly.

The Ambrosia recipe with the "secret" ingredient. Can you spot it? 
While going up and down the aisle with my cart, I went down the list picking up ingredients here and there. Two cans of of pineapple chunks, two cans of mandarin oranges, a couple cans of button mushrooms, shredded coconut, sour cream. Hmmm, sour cream, that's odd, I thought. I always thought it was made with whipped cream. I pulled out my smart phone and did a quick search of Ambrosia recipes and found several made with sour cream. OK, I guess cousin Helen made her's with sour cream. Well I wanted it to be authentic as possible so I figured I would make it with sour cream too.

As I wandered towards the checkout, I looked down at my cart and surveyed the ingredients. My eyes rested on the cans of mushrooms. Hmmm. Mushrooms. I looked at the recipe card. "Small mushrooms" it read.  I must have stared at it for a good minute or two. I grabbed that smart phone again and scanned some recipes. No mushrooms found but everyone had small MARSHMALLOWS!  I copied the recipe wrong! I started laughing out loud in the middle of the supermarket.  Hedda Homemaker passed by with her cart looking at me strangely.  I quickly returned the mushrooms and retrieved a bag of small marshmallows. In retrospect, I find it funny that I initially focused on sour cream as being the odd ingredient and not mushrooms!

Thankfully, the making of the Ambrosia salad went smoothly. And I am happy to report that all of the Ambrosia salad was eaten at my stepdad's 4th of July celebration. I wonder if that would have been the case had I made it with mushrooms ...


The finished Ambrosia salad!

Ambrosia Salad by Helen Haynes Dreiske

1 can of pineapple chunks (juice optional)
2 cans mandarin oranges
Small MARSHMALLOWS
Coconut, shredded
Sour Cream
Drain fruit first.
Mix together, chill well.

***The couple changes that I had made were based on personal preference. I used two cans of pineapple chunks instead of one and added some pineapple juice from the can to taste. Most recipes online called for 1 cup of shredded coconut, I used about 2 cups.  And remember, use marshmallows instead of mushrooms!

1 comment:

  1. I still think mushrooms would be better.

    ReplyDelete