A few weeks ago I talked about my uncle Craig’s recipe for potato salad. Today I want to share another family recipe.
I really have no idea where this idea originated but I’ve always assumed that my aunt Jeanne saw it in a magazine (pre-internet, people!) or heard about it from a friend. All I know for certain is it appeared one year at a family dinner where everybody brought dishes to share.
Yep. Oreo salad. We joked for a long time that this is how we do salad in my family. It’s not a completely false statement. As as kid and into adulthood, I ate a lot of jello salad — jello with fruit cocktail or other canned fruit mixed in and sometimes topped with a layer of mini marshmallows. We had a whipped jello salad where you let the jello set, mix in whipped cream (= cool whip), and then add fruit. All of these were often served with the meal as salad rather than after the meal as dessert, and I have to admit, I do get a craving for jello now and again. That stuff runs deep.
But back to oreo salad. It’s the easiest of recipes:
- One package of oreos, crushed
- One giant tub of cool whip, opened
- Mix together. Let meld together. Eat.
It couldn’t be much easier than that. However, I guess it’s been a while since I bought oreos or cool whip because I was a bit surprised by the modern incarnations. Oreos today seem “harder” than I remember. Maybe it’s because people don’t want them to fall apart in milk when dunking, but even so, they seem especially hard and to me the texture seems a bit strange compared to the cookies of my youth. Or even a few years ago. I found it hard to eat a cookie that wasn’t going to be dunked.
As for the cool whip, I also remember it being a denser, creamier product. The tub I bought was super “light” and felt like it had almost no heft. Maybe it’s that I’ve been eating real whipped heavy cream more often lately, but I felt like the product I remember had been creamier. More substantial.
Seeing these changes to my ingredients, I decided to make the salad in the morning so that the oreo cookies could soften in the cool whip all day and then I’d serve it as dessert for a bbq I was having with friends. I have regaled friends at college with stories of oreo salad — so much so that it always makes me think of my college bestie. I told friends in Japan. I’ve been telling folks pretty much since I ate it that one and only time at the family dinner all those years ago.
I decided to hold out a few of the oreo cookies to use as garnish (and to see if my friends agreed with my “too hard” assessment of the modern oreo). A small bowl was a lovely finish to a dinner of barbecued veggie and fish tacos.
Not surprisingly, it was delicious. Despite my wondering about the modern versions of the components, it comes together in a tasty way.