Salads sure have changed over the past 20 years. As a kid growing up in Texas, I recognized anything called a ‘salad’ served at family gatherings, school picnics or church cover-dish dinners largely by the white stuff that held it all together: either mayonnaise or Cool Whip. Depended on whether it was a sweet or savory salad, of course.
Mayonnaise was the key ingredient in potato salad, tuna salad, egg salad, and most coleslaws. At the time, I didn’t see mayonnaise simply as a key ingredient, but really as the only reason to slog through the potatoes, tuna, eggs, or cabbage that it was mixed up with.
Cool Whip was essential for the successful presentation of any fruit or Jello Salad. Some salads didn’t have anything in them at all except Jello and Cool Whip. Those were my favorites.
The difference between the salads of my youth and the green, crunchy, leafy salads I eat today is vast. My childhood self would need a tour guide for today's salads, or else a large sign: THIS IS A SALAD. Without the white stuff, it would just be a wild guess.