Maybe this should have stayed with the pioneersJuly 27, 2007
I found a cookbook in the thrift shop the other day for 29 cents. Famous Mormon Recipes by Winnifred Jardine. Printed in 1967 with a foreword that reads:
Part of the heritage handed down by early Mormon pioneers to our generation is to be found in pioneer recipes, many of them still a treasured part of family collections. Lamb stew, chicken and dumplings, biscuits and Mormon gravy, split pea soup, whole wheat bread, even buttermilk doughnuts made by my own great grandmother Emily Dow Partridge young for her husband Brigham Young…these are of Mormon tradition. Some recipes have been brought up to date — streamlined to fit modern ingredients and time schedules — but the good flavors are the same as those that permeated early pioneer homes, and many of them are classics. The “saints” as the Mormons called themselves came to Utah from many countries of the world, creating a sort of melting pot within a melting pot. Consequently, the recipes are as international as the “saints” themselves were. But no matter their origin, the dishes they prepared have lived beyond them, bringing pleasant eating to third and fourth generations…and to all who care to partake of their wholesome goodness, no matter where in the world they may live. (quotes original. those are not Amri quote-y fingers)
After reading through the 75 or so recipes, I decided that this is where the pioneers no longer matter. Where I no longer need their advice or their experience or their example. Pioneer Lettuce Salad is the worst offender. Listen to what’s in the recipe. 1 head lettuce, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 c vinegar, 1 tsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. You shred the lettuce and then whip the heavy cream with the other ingredients. Then you put a huge dollop of whipped cream on the lettuce. For variety it says you can add onions and a little bit of black pepper.
I am flabberghasted by this recipe. Whipped cream that is a little bit sweet and a little bit sour on lettuce? And this is the 60s, so while I have no idea what kind of lettuce the pioneers used, Sister Jardine is talking about iceberg. The great and abominable lettuce. The whore of all the earth lettuce. Plus did I say that it was whipped cream?
I like the pioneers. They’re my people. I like to hear real stories about them. I have always thought it’s obnoxious to ask if we could give up our lives, just like the pioneers did but otherwise I say bring on the stories and the celebrations. Now I have just one more stipulation to remembering the people who walked across the plains and kept our religion going: please don’t serve me their food.
However, if you are interested in more horrendous recipes, leave a comment and I’ll leave some recipes to make for your friends and family.