My grandmother has compiled this giant Betty Crocker style cookbook over the years. This thick tome is filled with recipes spanning several decades. It started, man, maybe in the 60's? Back when people cut out newspaper clippings of recipes and tried them. Can you imagine? You get the paper and open it up to see how to cook dinner? Home cooks were en vogue. Julia Child was practically a sex symbol. Women wanted to be her and men wanted to be with her. I imagine my grandmother, like everybody else, looked to Julia Child a lot. My grandmother also had 9 children. When I look at this cookbook, it represents the culmination of years and years of feeding 9 kids. The cookbook is very WASPy, by the way; things a foodie would turn their nose up at. Real submissive, roll-over-and-play-dead-in-my-mouth foods. There's a recipe in there for "Mexican Salsa" that calls for Italian dressing. It's like a youth pastor wrote a cookbook or the government censored flavor. Food was a utility. By all means, it's probably considered Middle American garbage, but when I look at it I think, "Who cares?" None of it's authentic, but guess what? It fed 9 god damn kids. I imagine my grandmother saying that a lot even though she wasn't that type of grandma. "I had to feed 9 god damn kids!" Like she was a one-dimensional character in a sketch show and that was her catchphrase.
So cornbread salad is in there, and it's a picnic style, random blend of ingredients that doesn't need to make much sense. It consists of corn bread chunks, mayonnaise, bacon, raw red onion, tomatoes, and also, pickle juice. This is one of those salads that isn't actually salad, know what I mean? There's no lettuce. In fact, as soon as you see "Corn Bread Salad" you're already being lied to. Salad somehow expanded to include all things mayonnaise. Whoever called chicken salad a salad, that person certainly was denying reality at every turn.
I eat cornbread salad because my Mom makes it; because it's there. I never crave it. I'll never make it at home. Imagine having to eat this for 3 days straight. OK, here's what cornbread salad tastes like: At first you notice the grainy texture of cornbread and the creamy, fattening flavors of mayo. Then you're like, "Alright, bacon." Then you're like, "Tomatoes?" Then when you're done you're like, "Hm, I definitely just ate some raw red onions." It's kind of perplexing. There are maybe a thousand different recipes online. One's from Paula Deen. Another one says, "This ain't your Mama's cornbread salad!" One is Tex-Mex. Another Southwestern. There's a billion different ways to make it and they all seem just fine. Sometimes food is just fine. I think it's best as a picnic dish when you're like, "Alright. I'm definitely not getting laid later. Let's just eat a bunch of meats and salads and start over tomorrow."