It was a struggle identifying which of the plentiful bounty of misnomered “salads” from the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook I should make first, but the No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas (submitted by Betty Rayner) kept calling to me.
No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas close-up
It made sense to make this one first, because it’s relatively simple, and yet still horrifying — never have two words been less interested in sitting next to each other at the dinner table as “Coke” and “Salad.” And yet, here we are.
No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas
This is the "froth"
Making the “salad” (pictures here) required a bit of interpretation: are the “2 Cokes” 12 oz. cans, or the 10 oz. bottles that were possibly still kicking around in 1979? Is the “1 pkg” of Jello the small or large package? Or were the package sizes totally different in 1979? The recipe says that the 2 Cokes won’t quite make a “full 2 cups of liquid,” which tells me that we’re working with the small pack of Jello, but a cup is only 8 oz., and I can’t imagine a Coke so small that 2 of them won’t make 2 cups. I finally settled on the small pack of Jello (after all, I don’t think the demand for my “salad” will be high), and used one and a half cans of Coke.
The next sticky spot was the instruction to add the Jello to “hot Cokes” — I like to think that in Texas, this is just what they do when they accidentally leave their Cokes out in the sun… “Betty, darlin’, Bobbie-Jo left these Cokes out and now they’re hotter’n a whore in Hades — guess we’re having salad with dinner tonight!” I just microwaved mine.
I got to use my ring mold!
Now, your ordinary batch of Jello already has a crapload of sugar in it, but Betty thinks it needs more, so water won’t do, it’s gotta be Coke. And what else does this need? How about some syrupy, not-at-all-cherry-like Maraschino cherries? Plus, some pecans, which actually turn out to be a critical part of the recipe. I considered leaving them out, but trust me — they are a welcome respite from the sugar, sugar and sugar provided by the other ingredients.
The final result is actually rather lovely, I must say. And it tastes about like you’d expect: like one great big, sugary cherry Coke. By now you may have noticed that I skipped one suggestion in the recipe… I did not opt to serve this with a dish of mayonnaise in the center. Perhaps I’m betraying my rookie status at this “salad”-making business, but I just was not able to wrap my head around that one.
If you haven’t already, you simply must take a look at the other recipes in the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook. So far I have a request to make Watergate Salad, and a request to stay away from the Spinach Salad, but there’s still plenty of room for discussion.