Monday, January 18, 2016


Nothing much happens here in the winter. . . (Actually, we have plenty of plans in the works, but my policy is that it's better to say what you did than what you're going to do.) . . . so I thought I'd take a trip down “memory lane” with some nostalgic recipes.

My mother and Psyche sit on the porch.
I’m careful about buying recipe books because my bookcase overfloweth with them. Nevertheless, every year one or two more will squeeze onto the shelf. So far this year, I have already added two: America’s Best Lost Recipes (“121 kitchen-tested heirloom recipes too good to forget from the editors of Cook’s Country Magazine,” 2007) and The Time Reader’s Book of Recipes, selected by Florence Arfmann (1949). Both books present retro recipes.

America’s Best Lost Recipes provides a bit of history for each recipe as well as recommendations from the test kitchen. The first recipe to catch my eye was “24-Hour Salad.”

I remember the first time our family friend, Psyche Johnson, brought this wonderfully tangy fruit salad to a potluck picnic at the farm. She shared the recipe, which we called “Psyche’s Salad,” and thereafter we stirred it up often. Here’s Psyche’s recipe:
1 can fruit cocktail
1 can mandarin oranges
1 can crushed pineapple
1 lb. miniature marshmallows
Drain the fruit and mix. Let sit until dressing is made.

4 egg yolks or 2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ c sugar
Juice of one lemon
Dash salt
Cook dressing ingredients in double boiler until thickened. Cool. Add ½ pint whipped cream to the cooked mixture. (Or, as Psyche suggested, substitute “Dream Whip” for the whipped cream. Today we would probably use Cool Whip.)

Fold dressing into fruit mixture. Refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight. (And Psyche added: “Do not freeze.”)

Psyche’s salad appears to be a variation of the recipe for “24-Hour Salad” in the cookbook. The recipe intro reads: “There is a tradition going back to the late 19th century of fruit salad married with a sweet custard and frozen. Then, in the 1930s, we began to see all sorts of creamy fruit salads with marshmallows and cream or whipped cream . . .”

L-R: Psyche, Una, Harriet, Joni; Lolita on chaise.
This recipe is much the same as Psyche's, so I’ll spare you another list of ingredients. However, it calls for two cups frozen sour cherries, drained, instead of the fruit cocktail. The test kitchen staff comments: “The tart cherries really cut the sweetness of the custard.” They also add 1 cup of sliced almonds.

Another interesting comment: “We also tried substituting miniature marshmallows to avoid quartering large ones. Bad idea – the small marshmallows simply turned to mush. To make the prep work easier, we found that if we sprayed our chef’s knife with cooking spray, the marshmallows did not cling to the blade (and were less likely to stick together).” I never realized that mini-marshmallows were different from the large ones in texture.

This is really a dessert salad, and while I love it, my family didn’t seem to, so I haven’t made it in years. Still, if I were asked to list my favorite all-time recipes, I would place it near the top. KW

[The photos were taken in July 1961. Top photo: My mother Dorothy Dobson and Psyche Johnson sit on the porch. Psyche's husband Wayne is far left. Around the table: L.J. Reece, our friend Cynthia, Polly Profitt, Papa (C. O. Portfors) . . . and then I'm not sure about those kids, but I'm on the edge of the cot and Becky Reece sits in chair. Second photo (l-r): Psyche Johnson, Una Evetts, Harriet Walrath Reece, and Joni Walrath Nunan. Lolita Kalbfleisch lounges on chaise.]


Chris said...

Well there's a bunch of names from the past! Was it Papa's birthday? Looks like there are presents on the table in front of him. And in reference to the main topic of this post, I don't think I've ever eaten this salad.

Kathy said...

Yes, Papa's birthday was July 31, and for several years we had a Sunday afternoon potluck in his honor.

Harriet responded by email and suggested we serve this salad with a wafer cookie as an afternoon dessert for our P.E.O. chapter. So far, I've been unable to find frozen pie cherries, but anyway, we know that fruit cocktail works.

Hallie said...

Is that Mark behind Aunt Joni?

Kathy said...

No, Mark wasn't born until 1968. To put things into perspective, L.J. is six. Shann was less than a month old. Mary won't be born until October. I think that little boy is a Kalbfleisch, but the baffling thing is that it looks like he has his hand on Joni's shoulder. Pat is on the far right. Nina is on the far left.

Hallie said...

Yes, it looked like he was claiming her, so I made a blind guess. Lots of little ones at that party! Papa looks amused.

Kathy said...

Joni was a school teacher. Perhaps that little boy had been in one of her first-grade classes.

Yes, Papa does look amused. I don't remember him being amused about anything, so it's good to see that. L.J., Becky, and Polly were there, and the three Kalbfleisch children. Shann was a baby and not visible.

Family trivia: Between July 1961 and April 1962, each of the four older siblings welcomed a new baby: Shann, Konni, Mary, and Rachel.