1979 Marysville United Methodist
Since, well, 1979 or so, I have been in the possession of one of the most startling and dangerous pieces of culinary literature of the 20th century… the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook.
I’m fuzzy on the details of how I acquired this little ticking time bomb… my mother grew up in Marysville, and my grandmother is still there, so I suspect that my grandmother had something to do with it. Grandma isn’t Methodist, and she’s cheap, so I can’t picture her buying this to support the church. She must have been given it as a gift and she turned around and gave it to us. At any rate, it’s mine now, and has been since forever.
The whole thing is an abomination, but the salad section is downright audacious in its abuse of the word “salad.” There is very little green in this section, unless you count the many instances of lime Jello. There is a recipe for “Vegetable Salad,” which sounds promising until you learn that it calls for 2/3 of a cup of sugar, a can of Chung King Chinese vegetables, and a can of something called “Veg-All.” But then comes “Asparagus Salad,” which you would think would at least have asparagus in it, but you’d be wrong. It has “asparagus soup” in it (surely Campbell’s Cream of Asparagus), a pack of cream cheese, mayonnaise, and lime Jello. So, you know, at least it’s green.
Asparagus Salad (curiously missing any acutal asparagus)
But it gets worse — oh, does it get worse. It’s hard to select just one recipe as an example of the horrors contained within, so instead I’ve unleashed them all on the world by scanning in the whole danged section.
Pretzel Jello Salad
Don’t miss gems like “Corned Beef Salad” (with lemon Jello and Miracle Whip!), “Super Salad” (with lime Jello, cream cheese, pineapple and marshmallows!), “Pretzel Jello Salad” (with, you guessed it — pretzels — plus Cool Whip, sugar, more sugar, and raspberry Jello), TWO! different “Coke Salads from Texas” (with cherry Jello, Dr. Pepper may be substituted for Coke if you’re feeling exotic), “Tomato Shrimp Aspic” (with tomato juice, lemon extract, lemon Jello and shrimp), or “Vernell’s Mint Salad” (with lime Jello, a box of buttermints, miniature marshmallows, mint flavoring, and green food coloring).
Vernell’s Mint Salad
There’s more — so much more. It just keeps going and going. Say what you will about these salads (oh please, do!), but it sounds like a photographic paradise to me. These recipes are just begging to be made real so that their jiggly, cavity-inducing goodness can be captured in full Technicolor grandeur. It must happen.
I’m taking requests — take a look through the recipes, and let me know which salad you think I should make next.