Food writer/blogger/mammographer in Nashville, TN.
I’m not going to defend a macaroni salad recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk AND sugar, but I may be able to explain it.
The recipe appeared in the regional newspaper for a group of tiny villages in northern Missouri. My granny was raised there.
Marketers back in the 1960s* became aware of the Mayonnaise-Miracle Whip line, which roughly approximated the Mason-Dixon line. People north of the line preferred Miracle Whip and people south of the line preferred mayonnaise.
Marketers divined that people on the Miracle Whip side of the line tended to come from Eastern and Northern European heritage, where sweet and sour food profiles were common. People south of the line tended to have Anglo-Irish-Scots backgrounds, where sweet-and-sour combinations were rare in the native cuisine.
My grandmother is a Missouri-raised Scot who much prefers Miracle Whip and sweet salad dressings. And she always put sugar into the dressing for macaroni salad.
Like I said, I’m not defending the recipe. I just may be the only person on earth who can explain it.
*I vaguely recall—I’ve seen the study but it was years ago and it’s not on the innernetz.
I made raspberry jam from green tomatoes because I wanted raspberry jam, but what I had was green tomatoes. I’m no purist, and to be honest, after years of seeing this recipe in cookbooks, I was curious.
It’s actually easier than raspberry jam.
The tomatoes go into the food processor for shredding. Combined with an equal amount of sugar in a saucepan, they simmer for 15 minutes. Pour in the Jell-O and the Kool-Aid. Spoon the mixture into hot sterile jars. Cap the jars, then 10 minutes in boiling water (while I watched Adventureland).
The result tastes just like raspberry jam. Okay, maybe a little bit “technicolor raspberry” flavored. Still. Since it didn’t include raspberries, it cost a fraction of what raspberry jam would cost. That’s one of my jam-making rules: the ingredients must be either free or very low cost. Otherwise, I’d just buy the jam.