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March 22, 2004

Street cred
Posted by Teresa at 01:05 AM *

On top of all the other recent instances of lèse-majesté, I hear from Erosblog that my credibility has been called into question on matters of Intermountain West Mormon cooking. This goes back to a piece I wrote in June of last year, La cuisine de Nouvelle Zion, in which (among other things) I mentioned candle salad. Not surprisingly, Erosblog picked up on the candle salad link shortly thereafter. Now someone’s turned up there to protest that old link:

“I am LDS and I find it appauling you incline we have food like that. We do not and I do not know where you get your information from.”
Hmmmmmmf! I posted a comment in reply:
…my family’s been Mormon for about as long as it’s been possible to be Mormon. One of my great-great-great-grandfathers got thrown into jail with Joseph Smith, and one of my great-great-grandmothers was born under a wagon on the other side of the river from Nauvoo, the first night out when the city was evacuated; and believe me, if I’d been given my choice of General Authorities to be related to, it sure wouldn’t have been Boyd K. Packer.

I learned to make Candle Salad one night at MIA, and so did all the other girls my age; and not a one of us thought it was anything but swell. It couldn’t be more obvious that it’s part of the same cuisine that produced funeral potatoes, jello poke cake, and all those other Saintly delicacies I wrote about.

So there.
But Erosblog’s got what has to be the last word on it:
I don’t know which is more funny: the fact that a Mormon is reading a sex blog and condemning the food reporting, or the fact that that a sex-blog-reading Mormon can’t spell and doesn’t understand that the source of my information is right there in the post behind the little underlined words…
Comments on Street cred:
#1 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 04:27 PM:

Wow, a verb I've never heard beforeand a new use for an old one, in one sentence!

Still, I am sorry that poor reader has been denied the blessings of traditional Mormon cooking.

#2 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 05:08 PM:

Ooooh...I know I've had funeral potatoes before, but never knew the name.

I'll have to whip up a batch of those for our next potluck.

#3 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 05:30 PM:

I don’t know which is more funny: the fact that a Mormon is reading a sex blog and condemning the food reporting, or the fact that that a sex-blog-reading Mormon can’t spell and doesn’t understand that the source of my information is right there in the post behind the little underlined words…

I would vote for someone who writes a sex blog flaming Teresa on reading comprehension, but inexplicably it wasn’t one of the choices.

How about a sex blog doing mormon food reporting?

#4 ::: Karin ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 06:09 PM:

I find it appauling you incline we have food like that

Just when I thought I'd seen everything in the imply/infer wars. I want to print that out and stick it up on my corkboard, for when I need a good giggle.

#5 ::: Bacchus ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 06:12 PM:

What sex blog writer flamed Teresa on reading comprehension? Surely not me. Julia, did you perhaps perhaps somehow get me confused with my clueless LDS commenter? For our hostess I have only the greatest respect, and her reading comprehension doubtless exceeds my own.

I'll cop to the humor value of doing Mormon food reporting; after all, that's why I linked to Theresa in the first place, because the subject was funny.

#6 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 06:25 PM:

That use of "incline" is seriously one of the most subtly beautiful malaprops I've tripped over in quite some time. --Points off for huffiness and general mean-spiritedness, but otherwise, O anonymous LDSer who's never had candle salad, I bow to you.

(So what would be the connotation of "recline," in this sense? An assertion that submits to someone else's inference? Repeating an implication word-for-word after it's already been called into question? Such possibilities...)

#7 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 07:18 PM:

um, OK, that narrows down the reading comprehension problem to, um, me.

sigh.

Long day?

#8 ::: Bacchus ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 07:36 PM:

Well, Julia, if it helps, my blurb was not exactly a model of clarity. No harm, no foul.

If you like, I'll lend you the towel I'm using to wipe the egg off my own face. I did, after all, manage to drop an "s" from "dessert" in a post where I maligned someone's spelling. Doh!

#9 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 07:46 PM:

What are funeral potatoes?

#10 ::: Scott L ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 07:51 PM:

Hey, there are these underlined words that lead to the explanation I was seeking! Totally wild!

(Hangs head in shame as cheeks rapidly turn a nice shade of Hot Tamale)

#11 ::: liz ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2004, 11:35 PM:

I missed the original zion food post...I grew up on "perfection salad"--celery-seed flavored gelatin with lovely bits of (canned) pimento, green bell pepper, and cabbage ribs suspended therein. There was also the ribbon salad (slices of jello from a ring mold, with various colors layered therein).

Oh, the fun part was sitting with my grandmother and cutting the vegetables into diamonds.

California Episcopal, that's me. We have my grandmother's 1936 Joy of Cooking edition--next time I am at the house wherein it is located enshrined, I will copy some of the more timely recipes.

I had never seen candle salad. It will haunt me.

#12 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 05:33 AM:

I believe that by prosper application of logic I can get you to incline to my belief. The belief that you are seriously retrilinear in your viewpoint of mormon cooking.

Mormon cooking is defined in tempestoral context, what was once Mormon cooking involved two missionaries on the verdamt plains of Africa, from there to the aforeinclined candle salad, finally supercillioused by jello-o with peeled grapes in the fundament.


Terry (excuse the family but Teresa sounds so formular), I respectfully recline to you these parlays of wisdom: Do not be one of these naybunkers that would rather age against the culturalated blight, than bite a single candle salad.

#13 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 07:23 AM:

bryan, I think the only other time I have seen Teresa addressed as "Terry" was way back when she kept receiving mail from the Salesian Brothers, asking her to join their brotherhood. (That would certainly have brightened up those boring old monasteries!)

#14 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 08:41 AM:

Hey I knows the Salesian Brothers, they was good folks, they're friends of ours y'know.
This one time me an Al Salesian were goofin on these mooks down at Joes, and this one mook, he starts mouthing off and Al asks him, he says "You want I gets Terry Nielsen-Hayden down here to snark you, tough guy" and after that the mook, he gets real respectful like.

#15 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 08:50 AM:

Of course anyone that's been in the life long enough knows Salesian ain't the whatyamacall their rightful moniker. No, that's just something that they picked up over the years. See Don Salesian one time, he fronts this guy some dough, well the guy he owns a pool hall, so when the guy he can't pay, Don abducts the pool hall. He muscles in, and the feds get wind of it, now the original guy he ain't around anymore, he went on an extended vacancy.

So the feds come to Don and says "We wants to know where the original owner is."

and Don answers "Original owner, he wasn't no original owner. No, I'se a-leasin it to him."
Only you know how fast Don talks, so no one can ever really testify what he says, so it sounds like "Organ Donor? He wants an Organ Donor? I'se Salesian to him."

So after that his name was Don Salesian.

#16 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 01:04 PM:

Eeeps. I clicked on the candle salad link, not knowing where it went to, and hopefully I will not get in trouble here at work. (If I was at Lee's work that would be a different matter, but alas, I am not.)

I don't understand how a Mormon can object to candle salad when the green edition hymn book (released in the mid-80s and which has remained a chapel staple ever since) is embossed with a nice little iconic illustration of the Tabernacle organ pipes, which resemble other organs. (It made my bishop's advice on counter-acting dirty thoughts highly impractical. He kept telling me to sing hymns and the dirty thoughts would thus be forced off the stage of my mind.)

Here's a link to the offending hymnal, btw. (Spanish version, mind you, but the English ones, which I grew up with, look identical.)

#17 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 05:47 PM:

Kip Manley: ...Points off for huffiness and general mean-spiritedness, but otherwise, O anonymous LDSer who's never had candle salad, I bow to you....

Forgive me for offering a possible reinterpretation, Kip--after all, you are the authority on your own subtext--but I would say you were standing up for the candle virgin.

By the way, I started writing this in malaprops--forget me for authoring a remandation...--and I am glad that it has already been done to death in these comments, because it would have been hard work. And even when I don't try, I often find myself skating on too stylistically thin ice and drowning in incomprehensibility. Anyway, "incline" is just too perfect an act to follow.

#18 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 05:52 PM:

TB, copy the funeral potato recipe out of your green family cookbook so that Scott Lynch will understand the reference. They appear at church sponsored funeral luncheons because the church ladies are never sure how many people will appear for the lunch, and the dish is truly "loaves-and-fishes." It's just an adaptation of scalloped potatoes done in a souped up modern setting. Tasty and extendable. As a Mormon cook in good standing for 65 years, I have never made a candle salad, but my home economics teacher demonstrated it when I was in 8th Grade. The phallic symbolism went right over our heads, and remembering the teacher, it never occurred to her either. Can a symbol be a symbol if it is neither intended nor understood to be such? I've wondered that for years.

#19 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 06:32 PM:

I've always believed that if you're gonna do something you should do it to death.

#20 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2004, 06:49 PM:

Well, Dan, I usually am a stand-up kinda guy, but in this case, I was inclined to bow. (Candle salad will do that to the uninitiated. --Thanks to that original Nouvelle Zion piece, I can't pass by a packet of hand-crafted artisan marshmallows without stifling a giggle. [It happens more often than you might think.])

#21 ::: Joy Rothke ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 02:23 PM:

The only time I've had candle salad is here in Costa Rica, at a baby shower. I was mightily impressed, but had no idea of its LDS roots.

BTW, the recipes posted touched me to the core of my suburban self.

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 02:39 PM:

Barbara - an interesting semiotic issue you raise there. I think the signifier is still a signifier; the problem is that the comprehensive link between signifier and signified is broken.

I think that pretty well destroys the symbolic quality, BUT we're talking about classic symbols here. When people talk about phallic symbols, they are usually speaking in Freudian terms. No amount of conscious ignorance/innocence can destroy a Freudian symbol. It has its symbolic effect regardless.

I'd like to pause to note that all the descriptions of candle salad-making I've ever heard have women and girls making them. I wonder if men ever do, or if they wait until the thing has been demolished from its initial phallic state before digging in even to eat the things.

Others might say sometimes a candle salad is just a candle salad, but I'm dubious even about Freud's famous statement: sometimes a cigar is still a phallic symbol, even if the famous psychotherapist is in deep denial!

#23 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 02:41 PM:

Mormon men have traditionally not been very known for their culinary skills, or willingness to help out in the kitchen.

#24 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2004, 06:57 PM:

Last summer, I made candle salad based on TNH's recipe, and I have a tip for those who want to try it: cut the bananas thus (that link may or may not come through -- if not, cut-and-paste from http://novalis.org/images/howto/candle-salad-howto.png ). My friends, none of whom have even remotely clean minds, enjoyed it greatly.

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