Blogmas Day 11: A Vintage Recipe

Blogmas - 2019

A little background here, my parents were a lot older than most other kids’ parents in my age group. Growing up, we ate a lot of stuff that was seemingly from the Great Depression era, I don’t know why. Ham salad, aspic, chicken a la king, clam dip and the topic of today’s post, ambrosia salad or marshmallow salad since the kids wouldn’t eat whatever the hell ambrosia was. I have not eaten this in years and probably won’t be any time soon but here’s everything you’ll need to make this unique holiday treat.

Amilya Regular

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1 cups grapes, halved, green work best
  • 1 small jar of maraschino cherries, drained
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 8 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 chopped fresh bananas
  • 1 standard size bag of mini marshmallows
  • Chopped walnuts for topping, optional

I’m sure that using pre-whipped cream is also fine but my mom always used heavy whipping cream. She would beat the entire pint but only folded in enough to evenly coat all of the ingredients. The leftover would be set aside for pie topping, the heavy cream is probably the hardest part. All of the other ingredients can just be put into a big mixing bowl and folded together as you add the whipped cream. The acid in the pineapple doesn’t play well with the marshmallows so this salad requires eating almost immediately – it’s not a dessert, just slap it on the plate with everything else. In fact, by the time you get to dessert, the leftover fruits and nuts will just be floating in a pool of melted marshmallows and wilted whipping cream. I really liked walnuts as a kid but none of my siblings did so my mom only added a little bit to the salad and then had some additional for topping, I would just throw all of the walnuts right into the salad if you like them. It wasn’t Christmas without marshmallow salad and I think some of the kids even still make it for posterity’s sake but I can’t say that anyone really likes it. It’s a difficult flavor to describe and the texture is bizarre, definitely worth trying at least once in your lifetime though 🙂

Let me know what recipes you remember from your childhood. Do you still make them?

💙

Blogmas Day 4: Have Yourself a Nostalgic Little Christmas

Blogmas - 2019

I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I tend to associate the late 40’s – 50’s with Christmas for some reason. Now, this era does tend to be romanticized quite a lot in pop culture and many of the tumultuous events that were happening are glossed over. Post war America though seemed like a more peaceful time, a more harmonious time in American history. The country was rebuilding itself, families separated by war were reuniting or finding ways to move on and society was united by common goals. Christmas was a much bigger deal it seems because most people, probably worldwide, didn’t have the means to be consuming all year. Shopping was a treat, more of an experience whereas now, Americans shop constantly (to the tune of $13.86 trillion in credit card debt) and goods are widely available. I’d love to see Christmas become a simpler celebration rather than the blow-out, consumerist extravaganza it has always been during my lifetime. Obviously, it wasn’t a progressive era but here’s why they did the holidays better.

Amilya Regular

Department stores used to be beautiful, not the tiled, fluorescent monstrosities or nearly vacant malls that exist now. You could have your purchases wrapped by someone who took pride in their vocation. Now, I schlep into a store, get ignored by the associates, check myself out, whip all my shit into a bag and leave. Consumers want more stuff for less and the whole experience has been cheapened to meet this demand. Also, stores actually closed – what a concept.

Amilya Regular

Now, I think that the artificial tree came out during this era which is good and bad I suppose. You can reuse them for a long time, they can be more accessible to families who can’t afford the whole natural tree thing but it sucks when you have to throw one out. Shiny Brite started producing affordable ornaments (still do to this day), outdoor decor became more prevalent, those inflatable lawn ornaments weren’t a thing. I love looking at Christmas lights but I often wonder if people just hate their neighbors. The White House had one classy tree instead of a dozen, what is that about anyway?

Amilya Regular

I recently watched a documentary on NORAD and the story of how they got started tracking Santa is delightful. It was actually a typo that lead to children calling the military on Christmas Eve in 1955 and rather than turning it into a national security issue, it was handled with good humor and operators were directed to give the kids an ETA on Santa. The following year, NORAD officially started tracking Santa’s Christmas Eve journey.

Amilya Regular

Nothing against mall Santa, the one at MOA is actually pretty good but department store Santa is definitely the more classy of the two.

Overall, it’s just the quaintness of the era and doing so much with so little that appeals to me. Was it all good? Probably not, I mean, the food couldn’t have been great, I feel like the candied ham, green bean casserole and fruitcake were products of this era. Miracle on 34th Street is the saddest movie I’ve probably ever seen. If Mad Men is accurate, everyone was smoking themselves to death and having extra marital affairs. But overall, if I could go back to a simpler time while maintaining the progressive values of a 2019 society, I absolutely would. What about you, what vintage concepts would you like to see as part of the modern Christmas celebration?

💙