20th April 2008

No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas

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
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
No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas
This is the "froth"
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!
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.

There are currently 8 responses to “No. 1 Coke Salad from Texas”

  1. 1 On April 20th, 2008, Chip and Andy said:

    You really must try this one again and sub with Dr Pepper!

  2. 2 On April 20th, 2008, erik_flannestad said:

    Wow, most impressive.

    We should have a obsessive cookbook enthusiast partay.

    You can bring salad, (please not the Hot Egg Salad Loaf,) I’ll make Savoy Cocktails, and Trott can make whatever section he’s on in the Joy of Cooking.

  3. 3 On April 20th, 2008, Humuhumu said:

    please not the Hot Egg Salad Loaf

    Be careful, Erik — the 1979 Marysville United Methodist Women’s Cookbook can smell fear.

  4. 4 On April 20th, 2008, swankola said:

    That’s one of the charms of church lady cookbooks – the lack of professional editing.

    It really is pretty, especially in that Sydney Opera House ring mold. I’m with Chip & Andy though – not so fond of cola but nutso for Dr. P.

    I’m inspired – I think I see a church lady cookbook potluck dinner in my near future.

  5. 5 On April 20th, 2008, Hanford said:

    7up Jello salads were (are?) pretty popular, so this is just taking it to the next level.


    Now throw some Redbull in there and really rock out …

  6. 6 On April 20th, 2008, Humuhumu said:

    Oh, I am totally busting out the Dr. Pepper for “No. 2 Coke Salad from Texas.” That one uses real cherries, it should be downright marvy.

    I’m curious now how Mountain Dew would fare — it’s got that great antifreeze-looking color, and would pair well with lemon or lime Jello, I would think…

  7. 7 On April 28th, 2008, Liz said:

    You HAVE to make the corned beef salad. Lemon jello and corned beef! And horseradish! Yes!

  8. 8 On December 7th, 2010, Queen,Elsa said:

    I have my Moms texas coke salad and it calls for an- 8oz pkg. of cream cheese