Sparkling Vintage Fiction. Among other things.

Retro Recipe Wednesday: Palm Beach Salad

palm beachIn the 1920s, Florida was hot in more ways than one. Around the turn of the century, a developer named Henry Flagler had worked tirelessly to position Florida, and Palm Beach in particular, as a winter playground for the rich and famous. After World War I, the middle class sought to emulate them and escape harsh northern winters. Automobile travel on the new paved highways made the Sunshine State a favorite vacation destination, and heavily marketed real estate encouraged a short-lived yet lively land boom. While this boom was largely over by the end of the 1920s,a  victim of overzealous buying and selling and hard economic times, Palm Beach has retained a certain mystique to this day. Surely that’s why the Florida Citrus Commission ran this recipe in the June 1938 issue of Good Housekeeping: a simple preparation of canned fruit and cottage cheese they ambitiously called Palm Beach Salad. The copy reads, “Delightful to look at, delicious to eat with its luscious blend of fruit flavors made temptingly piquant with canned Florida grapefruit. And so easy to prepare.” To add to the fun, the doyenne of etiquette, Emily Post, is quoted as saying, “Canned Florida grapefruit is an ideal hot weather fruit, tangy, tempting, wonderfully refreshing, rich in vitamins and minerals.”

 palm beach salad

PALM BEACH SALAD

For each serving, place mound of cottage cheese on bed of shredded lettuce. Top with teaspoon of red currant jelly. Surround with ring of fresh fruit (strawberries, blackberries, black cherries, or raspberries). Around them place canned Florida grapefruit sections, drained. Serve with French dressing or mayonnaise.

Can’t you hear the bridge club swooning? I think I’d do without the French dressing or mayonnaise. Otherwise, it’s basically just cottage cheese and fruit–a timeless combination.

3 Responses to Retro Recipe Wednesday: Palm Beach Salad

  • Jennifer says:

    No canned grapefruit for me, but I remember plenty of other canned fruit (especially peaches, pears, and “fruit cocktail”). My husband loves fruit—fresh or canned–mixed into cottage cheese. I’ve never cottoned to that combination, although I like cottage cheese (on its own) and fruit (on its own).

  • Jennifer says:

    Another interesting tidbit: I think that the joking reference to gullibility, “And if you believe THAT, I’ve got some swampland in Florida for sale,” dates from that 1920s period, when along with legitimate real estate there were shysters looking to make a quick buck. At the height of the craze, gullible people were plunking down good money for Florida property, sight unseen. Imagine their surprise when they motored down to their “vacation property” only to find it uninhabitable by anyone except alligators.

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