What’s Cookin’ – Gussy Salad

The second home in which we lived growing up was in Moline, Illinois.

We visited Moline in 2007, and I took this picture of it with my old point and shoot camera.  Isn’t it cute?  We moved away in early 1963.

Next door to this house lived a couple named Bob and Gus.  They became very good friends of my parents.  They insisted that all of us kids call them by their first names.  They were not able to have biological children so they adopted 4 children.  They also traveled a lot and went to very exotic places like Minnesota and Europe.

Here is a picture of Gus with her only daughter.  Don’t you just love the hats?  She made the matching dresses for Easter.  Gus did not drive, but that does not mean she was a pushover.

Gus was also a wonderful cook.  She made meals “from scratch.”  This was a little unusual as this was the era of canned foods, frozen dinners, and easy recipes designed to make the life of a housewife easier.  I was the world’s pickiest eater, but she made a lasting impression on my life with regard to cooking good food.

One of our family favorite recipes came from her, and we refer to it as Gussy Salad.  I love recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, and this one certainly qualifies.  I still have the original, hand-written recipe card that I received from Gus about 30 years ago.

Note:  Gus and my sisters make this in a large bowl.  After adding the bacon and croutons, they toss and serve.  I like to prepare this salad in a 9 x 13 glass dish and then “cut” squares of salad for serving.

Here is the step-by-step for the version of this salad that I made recently.

First of all, I used some greens that I had on hand which included Romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, and spinach.  That’s the beauty of this salad, you can change it up a little, and it’s still good.

First layer = greens.

Next layer = onions.  I love the Mexican sweet onions and that is what I used here.  I think that white or purple onions are just too strong for this particular salad.

Next layer = Swiss cheese.  Please grate your own.  Do not use the pre-grated stuff that is coated with cornstarch.  I may have used more than 1 cup of cheese, but that’s just me.

Next layer = mayo mixed with sugar layer.  Do NOT even think of using anything other than real mayonnaise.  There is something about mixing together the mayo and sugar that makes this so delicious!

Cover it up, and put it in the frig overnight!

Finally, add your crumbled bacon and croutons.  If you have made this in a large bowl, toss and serve.  If you are a rebel like me and have made this in a 9 x 13 pan, cut a square and serve.  I just like to make sure I get a serving that contains each and every ingredient layer.

This is a simple and yummy salad.

In 2007, my sister took my mother to Moline to visit Gus.  My husband and I drove up to see them, too.  It’s nice when old friends can get together.

Note: I finally added the Print plug-in to this post.  I have been messing with it for some time now.  Please let me know whether or not it works for you.  Enhancements continue to be a work in progress for me.

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