Family reunions are an indispensable ingredient in the LDS culture. And food is an indispensable part of these traditional summer gatherings. Favorite dishes summon pleasant memories of bygone get-togethers and departed loved ones.
Some dishes have a regional flavor or indigenous ingredients, such as Regal Rice Casserole made with Minnesota wild rice, or shrimp perleau from South Carolina.Others conjure up images from the Church's frontier past, such as Dutch oven rolls. And some dishes, such as Harvey Salad and Jackie's Favorite Pineapple Salad are simply an edible symbol of cherished memories.
Family reunions have existed since the early days of the Church, notes Phillip R. Kunz in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (page 497). Kunz explains that the Church in 1978 asked all families to organize themselves at three levels: immediate families, grandparent families and ancestral families.
Whether the family gathering is the immediate, grandparent or ancestral type, fare such as the following can add a pleasant ambiance.
Wild rice, an aquatic grass not related to actual rice, is harvested by Sioux and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indians on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. For many years, they were the only ones allowed to harvest it.
Virginia Slipka, a member of the Plymouth 2nd Ward, Minneapolis Minnesota Stake, said she makes this dish not only because it is delicious but also to support the Indian tribes.
"It is a very big favorite of our family, and I've also made it for our stake Relief Society and Young Women board dinners," she said. It yields 10-12 servings.
REGAL RICE CASSEROLE
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 3/4 cups brown rice
1/4 cup wild rice
1 can consomme or beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups water
1 package onion soup mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 package sliced almonds Mandarin oranges
Saute in a two-quart casserole dish butter or margarine, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and mushrooms. Add brown rice, wild rice, consomme or broth, mushroom soup, water, onion soup mix and salt. Mix well, cover and bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1 1/2-2 hours. Add water if needed.
Near end of cooking, add sour cream, top with sliced almonds and garnish with mandarin oranges.
Vancouver, British Columbia
For over 50 years, a fruit salad has been served at Roberta Mohr's annual family reunion. When Roberta married her husband, Harvey, her mother was concerned that Harvey wasn't eating enough, and he would never ask for seconds. Finally, one year, after finishing his first serving of the fruit salad, Harvey asked for another helping. In honor of this special occasion, the recipe has been called "Harvey Salad" ever since. The Mohrs are members of the White Rock Ward, Vancouver British Columbia South Stake.
1 package lemon pie filling (enough for one pie, about 4 oz.)
1 pint whipping cream
1 400 gram (14 oz.) package miniature marshmallows
] 1 can (14 oz.) fruit cocktail, drained
1 can (14 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can (10 oz.) mandarin orange slices, drained 5 or 6 bananas
To be prepared a day in advance.
Prepare pie filling according to package directions and let cool. Whip cream and stir in. Drain canned fruit and combine marshmallows, fruit cocktail, pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges. Fold in ingredients. Let stand overnight. Add sliced bananas just before serving. Low-calorie, non-dairy brand-name whipped topping may be substituted for whipping cream for the calorie-conscious. You may wish to reduce the amount of sugar in the lemon pie filling by using a sugar-free mix or if you make your own filling, substitute with artificial sweetener.
In Ruth Evans' family, reunions are an appropriate setting for a shrimp dish. Her grandfather on her mother's side was a shrimper in Beaufort, S.C., who drowned with his helper in a shrimp boat accident.
"Shrimp perleau [pronounced "pur-low"T is something my mother always fixed," said Sister Evans, a member of the Charleston 3rd Ward. "After she died, we all tried to come up with the recipe as best we could remember it."
This version, from her aunt's kitchen, seems to be the most authentic.
AUNT VIRIGINIA'S SHRIMP PERLEAU
5 strips bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 quart or 1 can (17 oz.) tomatoes
4 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 hearty dash Tobasco sauce
1/2 cup catsup
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups peeled and deveined shrimp (uncooked) 3 cups long-grain rice (uncooked)
In skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and save the drippings.
In drippings, saute onions and celery until tender but not brown. Transfer into a 4-quart sauce pan. Stir in remaining ingredients except rice and shrimp, adjusting seasoning to taste.
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Stir in shrimp and rice, and cook covered over medium high heat for about 15 minutes or until most of liquid is cooked out of rice. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until rice has reached desired tenderness. Prick rice with fork about midway through cooking.
(Note: Pricking rice with fork is the key to its light and fluffy appearance. Stirring rice can cause clumps.)
Dilworth C. Brinton's delectable Dutch-oven rolls have caressed thousands of palates at steak fries and picnics for family, community and church groups (of various denominations).
Brother Brinton of the Mesa 42nd Ward credits his mother with developing a better and faster method than the cowboys used, involving yeast instead of baking powder. The recipes below yield 100 rolls and serve 40 people "or 25 Scouts."
DUTCH OVEN YEAST ROLLS
4 packages yeast dissolved in 4 1/2 cups luke-warm water
6 tablespoons sugar (1 tablespoon in yeast)
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup powdered milk
2 cubes margarine or 1 cup oil
4 pounds all-purpose flour (approximate), or 16 cups
8-9 pie or cake pans to fit ovens
Mix ingredients. Let stand about 20 minutes. Roll out dough 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Cut with roll cutter. (A vienna sausage can is ideal; punch a hole in top so roll will drop out.) Dip lightly in oil on both sides and fold over into parkerhouse shape. Put rolls in pie pan or round cake pan, almost touching, and let rise. Place 3 small rocks or bottle caps in bottom of Dutch oven and put baking pan on these to prevent burning on the bottom. Bake with coals on top and bottom of Dutch oven. (On top, place about 20 hot coals, or enough to fill outside of lid with a single layer.) After about 7 to 10 minutes, check on the rolls. Baking time will vary, depending on how hot the coals are and whether the wind is blowing on the coals. Check periodically until done.
"This recipe has been a family favorite for years," said Grace Clegg, a member of the Orem (Utah) 2nd Ward, where she is librarian and Relief Society compassionate service leader.
"It tastes great, serves a crowd of people and can be made in advance." Adding to its versatility, the recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
As the name implies, Sister Clegg's daughter Jackie thinks it's great.
JACKIE`S FAVORITE PINEAPPLE SALAD
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
3 tablespoons flour
2 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 package Acini di pepe pasta
3 quarts water
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
2 or 3 cans (6 oz. each) mandarin oranges, drained and cut up
2 cartons (8 oz.) non-dairy whipped topping
2 cups marshmallows
Combine sugar, pineapple juice, flour, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lemon juice. Cook to thicken, then cool.
Combine Acini di pepe, water, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and cook for 12 minutes. Drain and cool. Add pineapple mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning add pineapple tidbits, oranges, topping and marshmallows.
"This is my mother's recipe," said Betsy Doane of the Hingham Ward. "She always made it and people always loved it." Her parents both died in a car accident in 1970. After the accident, Sister Doane had not tasted her mother's Hamburg Pie in a long time.
"But the recipe just seemed to come to me," she said. She added rice as a means of using a food storage commodity.
"I make it as gifts to people for Christmas and other occasions," she said. "And I make it when the missionaries come over. They like it, and it's very economical."
1 1/2 pounds hamburger meat
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups cooked rice
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can (101/2 oz.) tomato soup
"Dash" of catsup
Salt and pepper to taste
Top and bottom pie shell
Brown or saute onions and celery. Brown hamburger (draining any fat). Mix onion, celery, hamburger, rice, soup, paste and catsup. Put bottom crust and mixture in bottom of pie plate. Cover with top crust and brush with egg wash. Carve a face on the top crust (an optional embellishment) or cut slits. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Can be served with salad and garlic bread.