outraged eaters cried "Grapegate!" and bombarded the food editors with angry messages about wild rice, corn and SPAM (you know, actual regional delicacies).
Enter the taco salad debacle. A recent buzzfeed quiz rated test takers' Minnesotan-ness with questions about our state's unique cuisine. One question about two essential ingredients in a Minnesota-style taco salad had many quizees stumbling. But not this quizee! I fondly recall those special dinners when Mom served up her special taco salad a la her favorite community cookbook: seasoned ground beef and kidney beans, shredded cheddar, chilled iceberg, tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, and cucumbers; and a happy heaping helping of Doritos and French dressing. On really really special nights, Mom might include a dollop of sour cream.
My daughter turned her nose up at the thought of sweet gooey red dressing on her taco salad. I tried to explain the goodness of the sweet-savory blend, but she shook her head in disgust. I asked T if he remembered taco salad tossed with French, or perhaps Western dressing. He had no recollections.
It was a perfect time to reinstate our state salad staple, with a few updates, of course. This isn't Siberia during the Cold War for goodness sake: spinach replaced iceberg, baked taco shells replaced Doritos (a girl's got to watch her figure). And I whisked together a Minnesota version of French dressing rather than reaching for the bottled.
Ah, just as I remembered.
I am so happy for this French dressing taco salad revival, regardless of how short-termed it is. Once you go back, there's no looking elsewhere.
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon each grated onion, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil (use your favorite whether it's olive or canola)
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together all ingredients. Chill until serving.