Oh Midwest, what won't you turn into a salad

While browsing oddities on Wikipedia - a handy hobby for any bleary-eyed insomniac, surely - I came across something that gave me an immediate feeling of both desire and disgust. No, not the article on Britney Spears - an article on that great tradition of clogged arteries, the cuisine of the Midwest! And, well, not to pick on any state in particular, but a certain state that rhymes with Binnesota gets mentioned by name in most of these gross articles.

Here’s my favourite: Snickers salad, a gourmet delight of Snickers bars, Cool Whip and apple slices (y’know - the healthy part) that apparently passes as a “salad”. Looks like a slimy whiteish mess of a heart attack in waiting.

Cookie salad: buttermilk, vanilla pudding, Cool Whip, mandarin oranges, and… wait for it… fudge stripe shortbread cookies. Seeing a bowl of this would probably make me crave a big old bite of romaine lettuce.

Glorified rice: not sure what glorifies it, either the crushed pineapple, egg, sugar, vinegar, flour or whipped cream. This is just one of those things I could never understand until I saw it in person. I mean, vinegar and whipped cream?

Share your gross, mayonnaise-and-whipped-cream filled Midwestern salad-type dishes. I’ll also allow this to devolve into a general discussion of the wide variety of mind-boggling regional dishes, from the genius of St Louis fried ravioli or Chicago pizza, down to the confusing oddities like Cincinnati chili or St Louis Sliders.

You ain’t lived until you’ve been to a potluck dinner in Illinois…mind boggling combinations.

One specialty from my small hometown in Illinois, at the local Dairy Queen, was the so-called, Boston Shake. (I have asked many people from Boston if they have ever heard of it, and so far, none have.)

Envision a very large cup (about 48 ounces or larger) filled 3/4 with a chocolate shake - then put a huge swirl of vanilla soft ice cream on top, cover that with gobs of hot fudge, chopped nuts, whipped cream and a cherry and voila - the Boston Shake; eat the hot fudge sundae and, when you are done with that part, then grab a straw and drink the chocolate shake below.

Banana pudding: Nilla wafers, sliced bananas, and vanilla pudding layered. As in, cookies at the bottom, then bananas, then pudding, repeat the first two layers and chill. It’s actually pretty good.

Yeah, here you go. Wikipedia article, original recipe. They must be Nilla wafers. Hmmm, apparently the original is baked. I learned the no-bake way. Like this, but with no sour cream and no whipped cream either. Just the pudding, bananas and Nilla wafers.

There’s an odd tradition in regional delicacies to steal the name of another city. Detroit’s got the Boston Cooler, a ginger ale/ice cream float, which is unknown in Boston. Then there’s the really weird swap, where Michigan has the Coney Island Dog (which is unknown on Coney Island or anywhere in New York) while New York has the Michigan Hot Dog (unknown in Michigan).

I thought the buck stopped with the deep-fried Mars bar. I mean, seriously, how much worse is it gonna get? It sees all the fat of deep-fried cheese, and raises it sugar.

Wierdest food I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant: Horseshoes. Basically unknown outside of Springfield, IL.

I’m giving the edge to the deep-fried Cadbury Creme Egg.

Oh my gosh - my mom made that! And actually, it was delicious. A “salad” only in the sense that it was served alongside your meal, and no unhealthier than fruit cocktail in heavy syrup.

My grandmother used to make jello salad, which was a combination of some flavor of jello, some cool whip, and some sort of fruit or vegetable. Red jello with oranges was OK, but green (lime?) jello with celery was not.

It’s shit like this that makes me feel like I’ll never really be a true Midwesterner, no matter how hard I try.

“Thanks mom, but no thanks. I don’t like jello salad.”

“Oh, but you’ll like this one!”

“No. No I won’t. If you cauterized my tongue, burnt off my nose, and smothered it in bacon salt, there is still no way I’d like jello salad, even if it were made by Wolfgang Freakin’ Puck.”

I know a group of people that still refuse to believe that a chow mein sandwich is not standard fare at Chinese restaurants the world over.

A what?! How are these things made, exactly? :confused:

Shhh! Ancient Chinese Secret!

You start with some chow mein. Then you get a hamburger bun.

I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

Never had one. Doesn’t sound appetizing to me. I don’t mind chow mein, but served with good rice and those crunchy noodle things please.

Hey!! I like lime-green jello with celery slices. It goes well with the orange jello with carrots.

(Part of our traditional Christmas breakfast (at least, after my sister had her way…))

We just don’t call it ‘salad’. Salads are based on vegetables, and they don’t try to hide that fact. Dressings may or may not be present, but if you have to conduct an archaeological expedition to locate the vegetables, the dish is not a salad.

Me neither. But there’s a place in Taunton, MA that has been serving them up since two days before God was born. I was once out at a different Chinese place with a bunch of people from Taunton. They were shocked – Electrified, I tells ya! – that the place we were at didn’t offer the sandwich. They were pretty certain that it was invented in Beijing some 500 years ago, right along with fortune cookies and lobster sauce.

When I decided I was going to order mushi, they all looked disgusted. Surely something with a name like that had to be gross, right?

Gourmands they were not.

I’m sorry, but Snicker Salad sounds like something an overweight 10 year old would try to convince his mom to serve alongside the Taco Flavored Hamburger Helper.

And if you only want half an order, you order a pony!

Actually, it’s very good. Fattening as hell, but good.

No mention of Chicago style pizza? you can get that in London… (and it is heard of here, of course).

This is still served at my house during Christmas dinner. Don’t forget the sprinkles on top of the cool whip. It’s known simply as “the jello.” It usually sits next to the lefsa in the serving line. :slight_smile: