Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Storm of Protest

I could NOT let this 'grape storm' protest pass me by without commenting.
Who here in MN or anywhere for the matter has heard of grape salad? The New York Times Food Section on Wednesday featured a state by state guide to Traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Their choice for Minnesota Grape Salad. Soon after an eruption of  tweets blew up on Twitter over their odd choices for some states.
Here is a link to a Star Tribune article cleverly titled The Grapes of  Our Wrath:Recipe sets off a tirade.
The following words come from Linda Holmes (from in article 'Grape Salad' Is Not Minnesotan and Other Lessons in Cultural Mapmaking Novemebr 19, 2014. It was written in response to the grape salad protest. It was so well written that I included part of  the text. Follow the link below for the complete text.
I have never in my life heard of a "grape salad." Not at Thanksgiving, not at Christmas, not during a Vikings game, not during the Winter Carnival, not during the State Fair, and not during the greatest state holiday: the annual hockey tournament of the Minnesota State High School League.

But today, when The New York Times decided to come up with Thanksgivng recipes that evoke each of the 50 states. Minnesota got "Grape Salad."

Other recipes: Garam Masala Pumpkin Tart (D.C.). Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic-Paprika Oil (Idaho). Slow-Cooked Red Chile Turkey (New Mexico). Don't those things sound delicious?
I cannot tell a lie: This is what happens if you image-search "sad grape."

Now: "Grape Salad." Doesn't that sound like the only thing you were allowed to make in your plastic kitchen when you were 2 years old, not allowed to use knives, and only allowed grapes when they were cut in half?

The recipes chosen by the NYT fall into four categories, essentially. The first is the delicious-sounding traditional dish: Double Apple Pie, which they gave to New York (obviously), or Roast Heritage Turkey and Gravy, assigned to Arkansas on the basis that the state is "one of the top turkey producers in the country." The second is the plausibly regional spin on a classic: Oregon's Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir, or Florida's Cuban-tinged Mojo Turkey. The third is the Local Ingredient/Dish-Based Thing That There's No Rule Saying You CAN'T Serve on Thanksgiving, like Maine's Lobster Mac and Cheese or Alaska's Russian Salmon Pie. Or my personal favorite: New Jersey's Thanksgiving classic ... Manicotti.

Just in case you're wondering what is a grape salad- here is the published recipe found in the New York Times. 
I've lived in Minnesota all my life and have never heard of this salad until today. A wild rice hot dish would much better represent Minnesota. 
  • 2 LBS. seedless grapes
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • Heat broiler. In a 2 qt. souffle bowl mix grapes and sour cream. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the top. 
  • Place dish under broiler as far from heat source as possible and boil until sugar is caramelized and crispy about 5 minutes. 
  • Chill for at least one hour. Sprinkle pecans on just before serving.
Thanksgivng recipes will resume Friday November 21, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. This whole grape salad controversy at least takes our minds off the cold and gives us all something to laugh about. That's what I say. Plus a good deal to have Minnesota in the spotlight.