Please, don’t tell the folks back East!

I admit it; I’m a food snob.  It’s really obvious when I talk about pizza. Co-workers try to tell me that the pizza is great at any and all new restaurants that open. Not true. Four out of the five days when I’m back East every summer are spent eating pizza.

Ordering a Rueben sandwich in the Midwest has left me dreaming of the all-night diner on Route 1 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Thankfully, the restaurant 22 Ten, located at Western Avenue and 69th Street, has stopped those daydreams! Their corned beef Rueben is delicious and the sandwich is properly grilled, not just stuck between two slices of toast.

But there is one little confession that I have to make. To me, a salad is green with, at the very least, tomatoes and cucumber. It can be built up from there with all sorts of veggies and maybe some protein. What salads never, ever contain is whipped dessert topping or marshmallows.

Unless you’re in the Midwest. Any social gathering includes several of these concoctions. It got to the point that my daughters and I would make a bet as to how many would be offered at each occasion we attended. No less than six was the average. We were very confused when these were referred to as salads and usually spurned them, in typical East Coast fashion.

My confession is this; I have come to enjoy them. If I change their names from salad to dessert, the preconceived idea of what I’m eating is dismissed and I can dig in. And I often make a second trip to that bowl of fluff.

Please, don’t tell the folks back East.

I have recently been walking down the packaged pudding isle, thinking about making just a little one all for myself. There are two that I really like. One a friend of mine makes with cherries. The other one is called Watergate Salad pictured below.

It is so simple to make with only five ingredients. One small package of instant pistachio pudding, a 20 ounce can of crushed, undrained pineapple, one cup of miniature marshmallows, one-half cup of chopped pecans, and one eight-ounce tub of whipped topping, thawed. Mix the pudding, pineapple, with juice, and marshmallows together. Gently fold in the whipped topping and nuts. Chill until ready to serve and garnish with more chopped pecans. I think I’ll sit down on the back porch with a bowl and a spoon.

Please, don’t tell the folks back East.

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