A dear friend sent me this carrot-themed cookbook among a batch of more obvious sources of damned cookery. It’s a self-published affair, photocopied pages in Courier type, plastic-comb-bound with a tough orange cover, and has coupons in the back for ordering more from “Mrs. Roy E. Fletcher.” (I’m sure Mrs. Fletcher is or was a lovely woman, a fine cook, and an excellent garden club member; it’s just that the “Mrs. [man’s name]” construction sets my teeth on edge, and did in 1982 when I was a mere child of fifteen. Not her fault.)
I set this volume aside for a while after a hasty perusal. Sure, some of the recipes were not fully to my taste, but could I really fault the carrot? It is a versatile vegetable: savory enough for meat and veggie dishes, subtle enough for sweet offerings, an excellent way to sneak fiber and texture into cakes and cookies. Could I really find a Damned-level recipe in the book? Instead of flipping through once more I read the index (feeling a secret affection for the garden club members who went to the trouble to create an index; I rate a good index very highly in any book), and voila: ’Nana Salad. Bananas and carrots, I thought; this has promise. I turned to the page and spotted longhorn cheese, and we were off to the races. Good lord, I thought, what is longhorn cheese doing in a dish with bananas and carrots; isn’t it basically Colby? Why, yes. But they weren’t done. Canned pineapple! Gelatin, an old nemesis! And topping it all with a sort of hollandaise sauce? Oh, the horror.
I bet the finished dish has the same color scheme as a 1971 back-to-school clothing catalog. All oranges and yellows.
1 8-ounce package longhorn cheese
2 cans pineapple, grated (save juice)
2 ½ cups grated carrots
1 6-ounce package lemon-flavored gelatin
½ cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice (drained from fruit)
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
Grate cheese and line bottom of 9x11 inch dish. Slice bananas over cheese, then pour drained pineapple over bananas. Spread grated carrots over pineapple. Make gelatin as directed, leaving out ½ cup liquid. Pour gelatin over entire mixture and refrigerate.
For sauce, mix sugar, pineapple juice, flour, eggs, and lemon juice together in sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir until mixture thickens. When thickened, add butter and stir. Refrigerate. When chilled add ½ cup grated carrots. Add whipped cream and mix well. Pour sauce over salad. Serves 10-12.
From The Classic Carrot Cookbook for 24-Carat Cooks. A collection from the kitchens of garden club members and their friends. Ed. Norma Jean. Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., 1982.