I’m in a particularly happy place this week. The so-called spring fever has hit me hard and it seems that the smallest of beautiful makes me smile. And when I smile, life is really good. When life is really good, my mind is restless and I dive into a myriad of simple projects that distract me from the daily work hustle. Flowers have tickled me as of late. I’ve launched this monthly walking tour of flowers. I’m doing it for me. A literal move to stop and smell the roses. My Instagram stream is full of pretty little buds I see every day. And that’s my daily happy moment. But, even cooking benefits from my hyper happy state. I explore dishes I wouldn’t default to fancying up or sharing. This unique happy place opens up a creative lane I reserve for depleted phases in my work life. I only go there when I’m desperate to come up with new, sexy things. So when I can veer in there on the upside, the only possible outcome is a joyous experience. And so it would go this bright summer salad came to the fore earlier this week.
Marshmallow, sour cream, canned fruit, and sugar (and Maraschino cherries for that sexy top). That’s exactly what this fluffy puff is. Nothing more. Nothing fancy. Nothing refined. Simply a mélange of basic ingredients that sing “fly, girl, fly!”
And you know what flying does to me!
My childhood was replete with FUN, exciting and explorative activities. We picnicked a lot after church on Sabbath. We went camping almost every weekend which involved a tedious amount of packing and a full itinerary of fishing, hiking, S’more-charring, and practicing techniques on skipping rocks into the lake. I was awful at it. But it was a great sibling challenge. For us, mostly my youngest bro and me, summer was the ideal time to learn a lot about food and cooking. The kitchen was always open with little restriction. Grilling was the most fun and inviting, but learning how things work in cohesion was experimental. I always walked away with something new to try on my own.
And that brings me to this salad. A style similar to the varied ambrosia salad. We ate well as spoiled kids… Mami was always conjuring up colorful and delicious things for us to eat. Keeping 5 kids satisfied all the time is a stand alone job. I’m not really sure how she remained sane. I’m thinking the espresso and salsa music. But it worked and as adults we collectively love going back to those moments where nothing mattered. And everything was perfect. And the happy vibe was inherent. This vibrant mush of white made us all happy.
This is Mami’s recipe. I’m not sure where it came from or what inspired it… but it’s THAT salad I loved most growing up. We had it at every single outdoor gathering, casa fiesta, baby showers, or on super hot summer days. It could very well be a Cuban thing. No se.
It’s the most basic fruit salad (well, other than just plain fruit tossed together) you could come up with and probably even garner some doubt. I mean, who uses canned fruit?! Not so fabulous, right?! Not my choice ever for fruit, for anything… no matter what. This is the only exception. Something about the preserved fruit works marvelously with the soft marshmallows and sour cream (another distaste I have). Actually, individually, none of these things appeal to me. It’s a wonderful irony when I can genuinely enjoy a marriage of things I never eat.
Plus it’s pretty and uber fluffy. And takes absolute no time to make. And is pure fun. And still makes me happy.
When you’re bored or just want to indulge in the simplicity of the season, mix this up. I guarantee it’ll bring the happy out of you… and the kids.
MAMI'S MARSHMALLOW FRUIT SALAD
- 24 oz sour cream
- 2 16 oz can of tropical fruit cocktail, drained
- 1 10 oz bag of marshmallow
- 6 Tbsp. sugar
- mint leaves for garnish, if desired
- 1/4 cup Maraschino cherries, sliced, for added color, taste or just garnish.
In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Chill at least 4 hours or until marshmallows have softened. Garnish with mint and cherries if desired.