I inherited my grandmother’s massive recipe box after her death in 2007. She was a prolific cook, using her joint Serbian-Southern heritage to dazzle and inspire. I love pouring through her recipes and notes to see just how meticulous she was in the kitchen, but one card has always puzzled me:
Cinnamon Stars Salad
1/2 cup red cinnamon candy
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
Pare and core apples. Cook candies and sugar in water until dissolved. Add whole apples and cook slowly until translucent, but not soft. Chill. Cut apples in sixths to within 1/2-inch of bottom. Combine cream cheese with chopped walnuts and celery, and add enough mayonnaise to moisten. Stuff apples with mixture and top with chopped nuts.
OK. Three things confound me about this recipe. First of all, the title. The “cinnamon” and “stars” I get, but can anything with candy dissolved in sugar-water really qualify as a salad? Second, neither my mom nor her three siblings remember this dish. Third -- and perhaps strangest -- this recipe does not show up in Google. Like, anywhere. I have exhausted all efforts to locate something similar.
Are there other folks out there searching for specific enlightenment? Has anyone heard of or (better yet) eaten it? Is anyone else picturing my grandmother looking down at me with a “joke’s-on-you” expression? Someone help me out, here!