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Gram’s Cookbook – Page 22 Fruit Salad

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Fruit salad.  Honestly, not my favorite thing for some reason.  Still, it’s a popular dish and appears to have been made for a long time.  This is what is on page 22 of Gram’s Cookbook.

Fruit Salad

1 lb marshmallows

1 lb English walnuts

1/2 lb white grapes

1 small can pineapple

Quarter the marshmallows with scissors.   Half and seed the grapes.  Cut pineapple in small pieces and mix together.

Heat 1/2 cup sweet milk.  Add the beaten yolks of 4 eggs, 1/4 tsp ground mustard and cook until thick.  When cool add 1 pint of whipped cream and the beaten whites of 4 eggs.  Pour the mixture over the fruit and let stand 12 hours.

Biddy 

Did you know that there are different species of walnuts?  English Walnuts – Juglans regia and is native to the  mountains of  central Asia, including parts of China, Tibet, Nepal, India and Pakistan.  The word “walnut” in English means “foreign nut” – it was introduced into western and northern Europe probably before the Roman era and to the United States (by English colonists) in the 1600s.

These are different than Julans nigra, or Black Walnut, which is native to the midwest and east central United States.  The Black Walnut was introduced into Europe in 1629 and is cultivated there and in North America as a forest tree for its high quality wood.   Apparently, the Black Walnut has a stronger taste than the English Walnut, which may be why the English was specified in the recipe.

It states on the wikipedia site that the shell of the black walnut is used as an abrasive and in cosmetics…  And no doubt, this is true.  Gram used to use the black hull of the black walnut as a natural hair dye back in the day – though I have no idea how she went about preparing and using it for this purpose.

As for the grapes – can you imagine having to take the seeds out of all of those?  Yet, I remember when I was little that Gram would buy the very expensive (because they had just come out onto the market) seedless grapes for me when I visited.  I LOVED them.  These days, you hardly think twice about grapes not having seeds, but really, it is rather odd that any exist that DON’T.  That is possible due to mutations that cause seeds not to form in the fruit and that grapes can be asexually propagated through grafting.  So basically, they’re clones.

Know of any other seedless fruit like that?  A few are common ingredients in modern fruit salads, though not listed in this recipe.   Bananas, watermelon and oranges!  See, you learn something new every day on this blog.  🙂

As for the marshmallows… now days, it’s easy enough to buy a bag of corn syrupy campfire fun at the store.  100 years ago?  Nope, not a chance.  Marshmallow is actually a plant,  Althaea officinalis, and was originally used to treat sore throats.   Marshmallows as a treat first came about as a candy in France in the 1800s using the sap of the marshmallow plant  and adding sugar and a lot of work.  In the late 1800s, the French came up with a slightly easier way to make them using gelatin and egg whites (but notice the lack of an electric mixer – so all of the beating and whipping of all of it was by HAND)….  The modern, extruded round marshmallows that we find in plastic bags at the grocery store weren’t invented until 1948 and didn’t have a company to make them like this until 1961.   (And, they usually don’t ever contain any marshmallow extract anymore…)

Picture by Nina Hale, wikipedia

Picture by Nina Hale, wikipedia

So, Gram most certainly would have either had to buy hand made marshmallows (possible) or make them herself… And you can make your own at home, too!  OK, so I haven’t done that yet… as we’re in like the worst drought in a million years here in Texas, it’s just a given that there will never be a campfire allowed again.  BUT, if you are interested in giving it a go, there’s a great recipe over at the blog, Smitten Kitchen.

So, as you might guess, I didn’t try this recipe.  I know, it looks easy, but I really don’t like milk much and especially not on fruit and… and the sauce looks icky.  I’m sorry, it’s true.  Milk and egg yolks and whipped cream?  I know that the mustard sounds like a really strange ingredient, but it is commonly used as an emulsifier – or something that keeps things like oil and vinegar from separating… so that was probably its purpose in this recipe, too.  Sooo…. if YOU try this recipe, I’d love to know what you think about it!

Have a great week…

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One response »

  1. Marshmellow was/is a plant?? who knew??? love facts like this that i can throw out next time I make a batch of rice krispie treats.. LOL .. way cool… and I may try your recipe and report back.. it does sound interesting… but a whole pound of nuts?? dang that sounds like a bunch.. we’ll see..

    Reply

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