Fruits of love
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Features Editor
sallylit@bellsouth.net
March 25, 2010 01:00 AM | 3106 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Kathleen Rambo displays the frozen fruit salad that has been in her family for five generations with her daughters — Margaret, Meredith and Frances —  and her mother, Mimi Howard.  The dish is served on holidays and special occasions and is Rambo’s great-grandmother’s recipe. <br>Photo by Laura Moon
From left, Kathleen Rambo displays the frozen fruit salad that has been in her family for five generations with her daughters — Margaret, Meredith and Frances — and her mother, Mimi Howard. The dish is served on holidays and special occasions and is Rambo’s great-grandmother’s recipe.
Photo by Laura Moon
slideshow
When true Southern ladies lunch, there is always frozen fruit salad. Using a family recipe handed down through generations, Marietta native Kathleen Rambo shares her recipe for the quintessential luncheon salad as well as a healthier version.

"They always serve (frozen fruit salad) at the Swan Coach House. Frozen fruit salad is the epitome of a Southern lunch," Kathleen said in her melodic Southern drawl.

Catering private parties in Marietta for more than 10 years until "the babies got too much," Kathleen learned to cook from her grandmother and mother. "I rely on tradition when I cook," said the wife of Marietta native Sam Rambo.

Traditionally served with chicken salad and cheese wafers, Kathleen's recipe originated from her great-grandmother, Lillie Revis, who married Harvey Pierce Carpenter of Roswell. The Carpenters and their daughter, Margaret, moved to Church Street in historic Marietta when Harvey became Cobb County clerk.

Kathleen's great-aunt Margaret, founder and owner of Office Sales and Service formerly off the Marietta Square, lived in the family home the rest of her life. "We called (Margaret) 'Bobbie,' and she loved to cook and entertain," Kathleen recalls. "I remember having the salad at Sunday lunch in her home growing up."

The basic recipe for frozen fruit salad is versatile. It can be varied with nuts and different fruits, as well as other ingredients to lighten the calorie count as in the variation of the recipe Kathleen provided. "Now we can keep the tradition of our Southern ancestors with a healthier alternative which I'm sure they would have provided if they had been aware," she said.

Kathleen's maternal grandmother, Mary Jo Underwood Carpenter, nicknamed "Othermama," added a handful of chopped nuts to her recipe. Married to Bobbie's brother, Loy Carpenter, a local dentist residing on Campbell Hill Street (off Church Street), "Othermama" passed her recipe to Kathleen's mother.

"Mom remembers the recipe at its best when our maid, Beulah (Sally White), made the salad. Her family were sharecroppers on the farm where Walker School is now," Kathleen said.

"My mother, Mimi Carpenter Howard, shared the recipe with me when I started catering," said the author of "Southern Celebrations, A Cookbook From The Heart Of A Caterer's Kitchen."

"I can now pass it to the fifth generation: my daughters Margaret, Frances and Meredith," Kathleen said.

Frozen Fruit Salad

Ingredients

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

6 large marshmallows

½ cup whipping cream

1 ½ cups fresh or well drained canned fruit, diced small

¼ cup chopped pecans, optional

Instructions

In a double boiler over medium heat, combine yolks, sugar and vinegar. Whisk while heating until frothy and thickened. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add cream and cool. Gently stir in fruit which must include pineapple, peaches and at least three fresh strawberries. Traditionally red cherries and pears were also used. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan and freeze covered until firm. It might have to sit out for 10 to 15 minutes before you are able to slice into squares and serve on leaf lettuce. Garnish with a strawberry; some like to add a dollop of mayonnaise. It must be prepared at least eight hours in advance, and up to one week, if sealed tightly. This recipe doubles as many times as needed but increase the size of the pan to allow salad to be approximately one inch thick. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Frozen Fruit Salad: Healthier version

Ingredients

1 egg white

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 to 2 tablespoons marshmallow cream

½ banana, mashed well

2 ounces low fat cream cheese

½ cup plain low fat yogurt

¼ cup vanilla low fat yogurt

1 ½ cup fresh or well-drained light canned fruit, diced small

¼ cup chopped pecans, optional

Instructions

Follow the same directions as the original recipe. Use good quality yogurts for the best outcome.
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