Last weekend I was at my parents’ house and happened to find one of those folksy cookbooks that is composed of recipes authored by Area Moms and Grandmas. This one had a cabin theme. I don’tRecipe for "Coca-Cola Salad" with cream cheese, orange jello and chopped nuts. remember if it was for a fundraiser or what – the others that I’ve come across are put out by churches or schools. Anyway, I took a couple photos of recipes, including this one for a “salad” made with Coke. For some reason I decided that I needed to make this. It doesn’t make any modern culinary sense as we’re no longer impressed with congealed things like folks were 50 years ago, but I’d never cooked with pop before, and it seemed like something I needed to do.

Coke salad ingredientsA couple nights ago I went grocery shopping and made sure to include the ingredients I didn’t have on hand on my list. At some point in the process it became apparent that absolutely no actual name-brand products would be used in my attempt at this recipe. Representing SuperValu we’ve got SuperChill Cola, Essential Everyday Mixed Nuts and Orange Gelatin. The cream cheese is from Aldi. I didn’t know what “chopped nuts” meant, so I bought some mixed nuts and chopped them. In hindsight I think they probably meant pecans or walnuts? Who knows.

Measuring 10 ounces of generic CokeNow, the first rule of baking is to be precise with your measurements. So of course I measured the cream cheese and the Coca-Cola by weight, not trusting the vagueness of a measuring cup. I wasn’t sure if Coke was like water and weighed the same in ounces by volume and weight but it turns out it does.

As the recipe indicates, the first step is to blend the jello into the cream cheese. This produced a frighteningly orange paste that I would not normally expect to find in an item meant for eatin’. Orange Jello mixed in cream cheeseI used a hand mixer. I assume that “softened” cream cheese means you should leave it out for awhile to come to room temperature. I did not do that.

Next I boiled the Coke. The recipe calls for 10 ounces, which seemed like kind of a strange amount. Not 12 oz. like a modern can, not 8 oz. like the old glass bottles, but 10 oz. Turns out this was a size known as a King Size which debuted in 1955. Once boiled, I mixed it into the cream cheese and jello mix. I used the hand mixer again until it was a uniform mixture, which may have been a mistake.Fully mixed Coke salad, uncongealed

After that there was nothing left but the chopped nuts. I measured out a half cup of the crappy mixed nuts I bought, then gave them a quick chop with a chef’s knife. Much like ground and whole bean coffee, it turns out that whole and chopped nuts seem to take up roughly the same volume.

I unceremoniously added the nuts. The sound of the nuts hitting the surface of the orange cream Coca-cheallo really underscores just how dense it was even before it congealed.

I then told Siri to remind me to put it in the fridge later. Siri did as I asked.

Coke saladDespite the claims in the recipe that there would be three distinct layersInstead I found I had made a quite uniform lump of vomit colored sweetened congealed animal byproduct flavored with natural and artificial flavors (okay probably mostly artificial). Can’t wait to dig in!

So how does it taste? Actually… not gross. I mean, there is just about no situation I can imagine wherein I would ever desire to eat this again, but honestly that’s only because it looks so awful. It tastes OK. Not necessary good, but not offensive. I wouldn’t call it refreshing. But it certainly is different!

For more of my reaction you can view this video that my dear wife Catie was kind enough to record. Enjoy.