glorified rice, wait… what?

living in other countries, you start to question why you do things. people are curious about you. they ask why you do certain things. they wait for a logical explanation. but sometimes i don’t know! i just do. family tradition. habit. glorified rice is a perfect example.

my great-grandpa andrew and great-grandma mary on their wedding day in 1924.

i come from a long, and expansive, line of bohemians. they came from the czech republic and russia to the us in the 1800s and early 1900s.

settling in south dakota, they wanted a safe and prosperous life far from religious prosecution. south dakota also provided a huge amount of farmable land.

immigrants came in droves and brought their cooking traditions. they created new, americanized recipes. and the upper-midwest (south dakota, north dakota and minnesota) is home to a very unique type of food.

america knows our ‘salad.’ but not the green kind of salad…

dessert salad!

that’s right. people know us for our dessert salad.

dessert salad is an interesting blend. it’s sweet and savory. you make it in bulk quantities to share at large church and family gatherings. it usually includes marshmallows! every family has their own favorites, recipes and adaptations.

dessert salads are specific to the upper-midwest. the rural scandinavians and lutherans, make them. but no one knows where these recipes come from.

and i’m dying to find out?!??!!! why on earth are people making this? and serving it to other people?! do they think it tastes good? i’m not sure and still haven’t found the answer.

which brings me to, well, me…

growing up, i always cut the maraschino cherries and mandarin oranges for the glorified rice. cutting cherries is challenging. it stains your fingers red for days. scrubbing them doesn’t help, the red doesn’t come off. it’s not the easiest job in the kitchen. but it’s better than making the snowball cookies.

last christmas, alexa (my cousin) requested glorified rice. for some reason, my family LOVES glorified rice. i’m not a fan. but mom always mixes it up. and this year would be no different!

so what on earth is glorified rice?

glorified rice
  • cooked and cooled rice
  • cool-whip (or whipped cream)
  • pineapple tidbits
  • mandarin oranges
  • maraschino cherries

mix it all together, cool it down and enjoy!

i recently found my great-grandmother’s recipe for ‘glorified rice salad.’ it’s pretty spectacular. i have included it below so you can check it out for yourself. she even signed it!

my mom’s recipe adds cream cheese and doesn’t include marshmallows. mom actually made 2 batches this year, christmas and new year’s.

my family loves glorified rice. i still don’t get why. glorified rice is a bizarre and intriguing food. but the family tradition continues. and that’s the most important part.

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