01 April 2016

I grew up eating April Fool's food.

You know, fair reader of this blog, that I am a proud product of the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, to be specific. In the Great Lakes, we make casseroles (NOT hot dish in Illinois, anyway), our salads sometimes come with candy bars, and every rural road house near a pond has a "famous" fish fry on Friday nights. As I was thinking about the relevance of April Fool's to food, I realized that plenty of my favorite childhood foods could be considered pranks to the uninitiated.  So no, this is not a joke post; it is a celebration of Midwestern heritage, or perhaps a humble question: were our parents just messing with us our entire lives?!

Classic Snickers Salad: I've never had this, but I've certainly heard about it a lot.  I think it's more of an Iowa thing, and the people are a littler weirder over there (they get their gas at a place called the Kum N Go, for instance).

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1(12 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
6 Snickers candy bars
4 -6 granny smith apples

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until thoroughly blended. Fold in Cool Whip. Cut Snickers into bite size chunks and add to cream cheese mixture. Chop the apples into chunks and stir. Chill 1 hour before serving.

Catherine's Cherry Salad: my grandma hauled this one out for fancy meals, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It was served in a crystal cut bowl (not pictured), and it was my favorite thing to eat with ham.

1 container of Cool Whip
1 (15 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

Mix it up and put in your best serving bowl. Show-offs might add chopped walnuts, but this salad stands alone.

Tuna Noodle Casserole: I called this "tuna noodle glop" because I was a pretty bratty kid, and my parents could never control me. It's a pretty complicated recipe involving canned tuna AND canned cream of mushroom soup, so I'm just going to leave this link here for you.  Oh, and here's the Green Bean Casserole recipe while you're at it.

Chicken and Noodles: what the hell is it?  It's not quite a soup, not a casserole, but it is some sort of soupy side dish to be served near your turkey at Thanksgiving. Now, I will say that in the Riner family, we always did it with homemade noodles, so you can replace the nice, light egg noodles in this recipe with some fat, doughy ropes that resemble Elmer's glue. I also don't remember so much chicken in the dish, but there was was some.

Don't forget to put the Ranch dressing out, because that shit goes on everything: salad, baked potato, tuna noodle casserole...

For more classic recipes, you might like The Hospitality of a Midwestern Potluck from April 2015.