Comfort food: Trouble salad

Okay, it’s really macaroni salad and about as ubiquitous as can be, but there’s a story behind the title.

It was 1980. In Kansas City. In the summer.

The 1980 United States Heat Wave was a period of intense heat and drought that wreaked havoc on much of the Midwestern United States and Southern Plains throughout the summer of 1980. It is among the most devastating natural disasters in terms of deaths and destruction in U.S. history, claiming at least 1,700 lives[1] and because of the massive drought, agricultural damage reached US$20.0 billion (US$55.4 billion in 2007 dollars, adjusted for the GNP inflation index).[2] It is among the billion-dollar weather disasters listed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. […] In Kansas City, Missouri, the high temperature was below 90 only twice and soared above the century mark (100 °F/38 °C) for 17 days straight[…] [Wikipedia]

And we did not have air conditioning. No, we did not. But my grandmother, who lived about four blocks away, had a little window unit, so every afternoon, we would hie ourselves up there to sit in her living room for a while, then come home to sleep. If you can call it that. (Oh, and a little trivia: My room faced east, so I had the joy of the first blast of heat every morning.)

My mother would make dinner that we would bring to grandma’s while we sat in the cool. And one day she made this:

7 oz. dry pasta
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. sour cream
1 15-oz can drained sweet peas
1 c. diced ham
1 c. diced cheese
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. onion salt

Cook pasta while mixing Miracle Whip, sour cream, and spices. Stir in peas, meat, cheese, and pasta. Chill.

As you see, it involves a stove and boiling water. We three children (12, 6, and 4) were lined up at the door waiting for mom to bring the ginormous stoneware crock full of this so that we could go to grandma’s. Unfortunately, two steps from the front door, she tripped, dropped the bowl (which broke), and sprayed macaroni salad and clay shards everywhere.

My brother laughed.

He, um, got in trouble. (Turrble turrrrrrrrrrrble trouble.)

Hence the name. I don’t think my mother’s made this since and I have only a couple of times, but I love it and thus, the block party Saturday was graced with TWO dishes out of the Dude-and-Mojo household.

That’s what the fresh concrete in front of our beautiful porch says: Dude + Mojo = ?


One thought on “Comfort food: Trouble salad

  • June 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Dude + Mojo = Trouble. AKA #YourSon. + a daughter, the Drama Princess.


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