Being that I’ve lived my entire life in the state of Utah, I assumed that everyone ate the same types of food that are prevalent here. When the 2002 Olympics came to town, there was lots of hype about ‘Mormon Cuisine’. They even made Olympic pins featuring those items that outsiders found most unusual. I’ve decided to share the recipes for a few of these dishes.
First up would have to be Jello. We are the Jello capitol of the world here in Utah, using almost three times as much per person as any other state in the Union. What makes our Jello creations so different from everyone else’s is that we include fruits and vegetables. Green jello, with pineapple chunks and grated carrots mixed in is a big favorite; some families even fold in a little cottage cheese. Personally, I hate that combination. I’m usually putting sliced bananas in strawberry jello or putting pear chunks in the lemon flavored jello for my kids. We also include extra Knox Gelatin, which has no flavor, in plain (nothing mixed in it) jello to make it more solid. It’s a great finger food for toddlers and nowhere as messy as the original stuff can be.
Another typical food here is Funeral Potatoes. Whenever someone in our church group dies, the ladies are asked to bring a dish to feed the family after the services, hence the name. It’s a common choice because everyone is familiar with the dish and it’s easy to make. Take a package of frozen hash brown potatoes, put it in a casserole dish and add a can of Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken soup and a cup of sour cream. Bake for 30 minutes and then top with grated cheese or crunched up Corn Flakes. Voila!
My favorite Mormon food item has got to be Seven Layer Bean Dip. To make it, spread refried beans on the bottom of a casserole dish; make a layer of taco meat, then salsa, another of sour cream, olives, tomatoes and then top with grated cheese. Serve with tortilla chips. You may add guacamole, diced onions or Spanish rice to taste.
I thought that Shepherd’s Pie was something that everyone was familiar with, but apparently not according to those Olympic reporters. We mix a can each of diced carrots, peas, green beans and corn in a casserole dish, add cooked hamburger and brown gravy then spoon mashed potatoes or Tater Tots on top. Cook for an hour and then garnish with grated cheese. This is an easy dish to make; I often make four or five at a time and freeze the extras, then pull one out and put it in the oven on days I’m really pushed for time.
We also have something called Fry Sauce. Instead of catsup on our French fries, we mix catsup and mayonnaise into an orange sauce. It’s different, but very addicting.
Well, there you have it, ‘Mormon Cuisine’. Hope none of it was too bizarre. I’d love to know if any of you have heard of, or eat these dishes. It would be great to know that we’re not that ‘specialized’ in our eating habits here.