Tag Archives: recipes

5 Key Ingredients for the Perfect Midwestern Salad (Ready Your Mayonnaise)

Miracle Whip, though no substitute for real mayonnaise, can be used in a pinch.

Jell-O: Few things have captured the Midwestern imagination like Jell-O. Its mysterious jiggling qualities, its Biblical ability to suspend fruits, and its molded shapes that reminded German immigrants of their homeland, all contributed to Jell-O becoming the base of the ever popular Jell-O salad.

My grandmother once told me that everyone in their old farming community had to have the latest Jell-O salad. It was a simpler time, when the space race between the Reds and the Uncle Sams was matched by a furious Jell-O race between Kansas homesteads. It was also a time that witnessed truly frightening innovation, which reached its pinnacle in the “Perfection Salad,” composed of lemon Jell-O, pimiento, celery, cabbage, vinegar, and sliced pineapple.

Cool Whip: Cheers of joy were heard all across the Midwest when NASA revealed that its attempt at entering the hair product market had proven unsuccessful but that its creation, Cool Whip, was tasty and went great with gelatin. It quickly became the bosom buddy of almost every Jell-O salad. And thus Cool Whip made its way onto the dinner table, because Jell-O salads are not dessert.

Mayonnaise: If one is unlucky and fresh vegetables must be prepared, mayonnaise is a sure solution to make them palatable. Considered the Cool Whip of non-Jell-O salads, it is a must in everything from the Kansas Broccoli Salad (3/4 c.) to the Kansas Cucumber Salad (1 c.). According to a scientific study, when Midwesterners view a salad bare of this white miracle condiment, they are 57% more likely to enter Mayo-rage. Few survive.

Sugar: More necessary for the vegetable salads than mayo, sugar is what truly makes these savory combinations come alive and lose their gross savory-ness. Every kind of slaw, be it Chinese or German, and each kind of salad, be it corn or Sauerkraut, by definition must contain at least ¼ cup sugar. In fact, the Midwestern word for sugar actually means “salad spice.”

Leafy Greens: Just kidding. The only truly acceptable version of a leafy green is cabbage, which can be turned into Mayo-slaw. Otherwise, all leafy greens are prohibited from joining the salad party and should be left in the garden as decoration.

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Miracles of English Cooking: Part One

The ultimate picture of romanticism.

This is the inaugural post of a possibly endless series on the achievements of British cookery. But before I begin, a few disclaimers: Though I have not, in recent memory, called Africa or Europe a country, I have been guilty of other geographical oopsies. Feel free to correct me should I–God forbid–make a mistake. I, in turn, will feel free to ignore the correction and openly mock the person who made it. I also apologize in advance to any British food lovers that I might offend throughout this series. If it makes you feel any better, please check back for an upcoming series on the Miracles of Midwestern Cooking. Or see the site: http://thisiswhyyourefat.tumblr.com/

English cuisine is known the world round for being only slightly better than its Irish cousin, which is based on one stolid pillar of a salted potato. Indeed, it was only through rampant imperialism that the British ever got to taste actual food. One could even say that India saved British taste buds from becoming obsolete.

Nowadays, London is sprinkled with some of the finest food in the world and consequently, British food is no longer a guaranteed letdown. Indeed, some say it even competes with the cookery of Midwestern America, where cream of mushroom soup is the housewife’s cure-all. However, it still behooves us to examine some of the more bizarre and unpleasantly named dishes, such as the Scotch egg, black pudding, and Marmite.

Today we learn of the Scotch egg. According to “uklaine” on allrecipes.com, Scotch eggs are “Hard boiled eggs wrapped with a seasoned sausage meat. A meal that goes over great at a party or with a salad for a light dinner.” What she fails to mention in this description is that the egg, cozy in its meat blanket, is also rolled in bread crumbs and then deep fried, making its inclusion in anything called a “light meal” more than dubious. It is certain, however, that the Scotch egg is delicious. How can the words hard boiled, egg, sausage, meat, and fry not describe a dish worthy of the royal tongue (another British delicacy).

According to an article on BBC food, the Scotch egg also makes a special picnic treat. I recommend that the next time you want to wow your lass or laddie, take 8 scotch eggs, 2 Lipitor tablets, and a jug of Kool-Aid to the nearest field. Prepare yourself for overwhelming romanticism as you both fall into a food coma while your body attempts to cope with the deluge of cholesterol and fat. It may be the closest you get to having a communal, spiritual nap.

Stay tuned tomorrow for instructions on how to make Scotch eggs and woo a lover.

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Make Your Own Cairo Street Sludge

Just add water and blazing heat

It never rains in Cairo, but the ground is always wet. This is one of the great paradoxes of this country. From whence does the moisture come from, if not bequeathed upon us from the bounty of the sky? This man made street moisture is a conglomeration of air conditioning residue, also known as Cairo rain, car washing by-product, and people throwing water on the streets to keep the dust down. The final result is unwanted, unpleasant, gloopy, sticky, ubiquitous, puddles.

Personally, I hate stepping in puddles. This aversion is not limited to Cairo. I hate unprotected puddle stomping everywhere and especially so when I’m wearing open toed shoes or pants that leave part of my leg bare and thus unprotected from any stray drops of street water.

The puddles here, for a variety of reasons, are particularly unappealing, and I shiver every time I’m forced to step in the street goo. What if it splashes onto my pants, squishes between my toes, or (God forbid) somehow makes its way into my mouth. No amount of pure grain alcohol would be enough to make me feel clean again.

I was searching for what exactly makes Cairo street water so special, and found this recipe on allrecipes.com. I haven’t tried it yet, but it had great ratings and comments.

Extra-Foul Cairo Street Puddle

By-products of at least 3 animals (feral dogs and cats are acceptable)

Powdered garbage

Handful of trash

Motor Oil

Human Spit


Air-conditioning residue

Spilled Pepsi

One shard of glass (optional)

Dust (to taste)

Mix all of the above ingredients. Leave for years. In the morning, add an extremely inappropriate amount of water, making sure to waste as much as possible. Let sit in sun and reduce for 4 hours. Encourage cars to drive through. The mixture will be most foul before 4 o’clock pm, when it might completely evaporate. Does not keep well. Makes a great gift!

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