Oreo Salad!

093A 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.

Oreo salad.

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.

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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.094

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.

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