A Utah Mormon Tasting Menu

Sometimes my mind goes to strange places as I attempt to find sleep. Sometimes that is (or isn’t) to your benefit. So with apologies to Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller, I present a Utah Mormon Tasting Menu:

gel-o with shredded carrot

a cube of wasabi pea flavored green gel presented in a nest of dehydrated shredded carrots

pairing: stewart’s ginger beer

russian navajo taco

indian fry bread circles topped with sour cream and caviar

pairing: martinelli’s sparkling apple cider

western crab cake

an alaskan king crab crab cake topped with a ranch dressing foam

pairing: thomas kemper root beer

artichoke with fry sauce

a chilled artichoke heart cup filled with fry sauce bubbles and topped with preserved lemon and dusted with cayenne pepper

pairing: koppaberg pear cider

funeral potatoes ala mode

A scoop of idaho potato ice cream, coated with a corn flakes and deep fried and topped with an aged cache valley white cheddar béchamel

pairing: hawaiian punch

middle eastern taco bowl

A baked pita bread bowl filled with tabbouleh, mini falafel balls, middle eastern micro-greens and drizzled with a black sesame seed tahini vinaigrette

pairing: white grape juice and sprite punch

scone with jam

fried bread dough topped with a kobe beef jerky and blue cheese jam

pairing: o’douls

cheese course

a selection of local cheeses

digestif: redespresso (concentrated rooibos tea)

deconstructed s’more

a chocolate mocha syrup (made with postum) is pooled on the table followed by mounds of marshmallow cream that are then caramelized with a kitchen torch; guests are provided with a vase filled with graham pretzels and are invited to drag them across the table

pairing: choice of snowbird snow melt with sprigs of mint or chilled, unpasteurized cache valley milk

22 thoughts on “A Utah Mormon Tasting Menu”

  1. Follow up:

    1. I would so eat everything on this menu
    2. I’m not a chef — a real chef would use more ingredients and have one extra little touch or twist that would really make these dishes work
    3. Yes, this is making fun of high-end cuisine (esp. the world of molecular gastronomy) and Mormon culture, but also paying devoted homage to both (see my #1)
    4. I’m sure I’m missing some key dishes — feel free to add your own below. One thing I wasn’t able to figure out is some sort of savory rice crispie treat.

  2. The Kobe beef jerky makes up most of the jam — the blue cheese adds flavoring. Think of an onion jam made with jerky. It’s odd, but I think it could work.

  3. You must do something with Hawaiian haystacks and raspberry slush.

    The artichoke with fry sauce is strangely compelling . . .

  4. Haystacks? I’m not remembering that one.

    And by raspberry slush do you mean raspberry sherbet floated in Sprite? Because I was considering something along those lines but couldn’t fit it in.

  5. Hawaiian Haystacks are the church dinner phenomenon where you have a bowl of rice and a salad bar of toppings – chicken, crispy chow mein noodles, green onions, water chestnuts. And then for some reason grapes and pineapple. And then for some soul-rending reason you’re supposed to pour gravy on top and sprinkle it with coconut.

    The funeral potatoes are the most brilliant. I can’t get it out of my head. Someone MUST make Idaho potato ice cream now, and I’m guessing someone in Logan would be the most likely.

  6. I had a lot of Mormon stalwarts during my 14 years of life in Utah — everything from funeral potatoes to Jell-O cakes (and all bizarre manner of Jell-O salads). During ninth grade at Dixon Junior High, I regularly ate the classic BYU catering taco salad in a taco bowl topped with fry sauce. I also had some pretty nasty chow mein and many different casseroles (some better others; many involving condensed cream of mushroom soup). But I don’t ever recall encountering Hawaiian Haystacks. Perhaps the memory is so horrible that I blocked it.

  7. Perhaps you’ve been more faithful than the rest of us and God has been helping you fight your battles.

  8. Well, it is true that I was the first LDS missionary to leave Romania without ever being served piftie, which is a meat aspic with chunks of pork fat and pork skin suspended in it.

    I did consume lots of other interesting things, though.

  9. I’m tempted to say “you can’t scare me with food; I live in Asia.” But that is one pretty formidable specimen.

  10. Oh my. I have no idea what to do with that. The mandarin oranges and pineapple (and sometimes grapes?) totally throws me for a loop. But that is my major culinary achilles heel: with the exception of cranberries (and even that is not a fav), I am not a fan of fruit being in the same dish as meat or fish.

  11. Blech. Not one of those sounds yummy.

    And I’ve lived in Provo since 2001.

    The “deconstructed S’more” made me laugh. I think it was the sentence, “guests are invited to drag them across the table.”

  12. .

    I love the bulk of Utah food. But I haven’t actually had a Jell-O salad or funeral potatoes or Hawaiian haystacks (aka Chinese haystacks) or the like for years now.

    That may help.

  13. I have a brother-in-law who likes good food and likes to cook, with whom I like to cook. I sent him a link to this post. His response: “Oh. I see. I had misunderstood what ‘abomination’ meant. Now I get it. Thank you.”

  14. visiting over, and all I can say is that you are brilliant and hilarious. And… I grew up Southern, and we did do the pink stuff (my words on segullah about that on the unholy combinations post) and etc, but I loved my mom’s limejello salad with cottage cheese, crushed canned pineapple, and pecans. I have no idea why, but that combination, though we balked at it the first time we attempted it, was excellent. But the haystacks, thoguh Iw as byu educated, and the funeral potatoes, I didn’t come into contact with until I left UT and hit Oregon areas. Was astonished. “haystacks” without the grapes, and without the gravy, are actually pretty good… if you count rice with cream of chicken soup as good, with crunchy stuff on top as a bonus. I think it survives because each of the thousand kids can customize it down to its deconstructed form….

  15. Thanks, Heather.

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who did a stint in Utah without coming to the knowledge of haystacks.

  16. You really need a second topping for the scones–and there’s nothing better than honey butter.

    I still remember Mr. Matthews, the principal at Dixon Jr. High my last year (1967-68) announcing the school lunch menu over the PA system and how excited we all were when he included “scones and honey butter.”

  17. Ah, yes honey butter. Perhaps a Cache valley clover pollen compound butter.

    I attended Dixon in the mid-1980s. I don’t remember ever having the option for “scones”. Although the lunch ladies at Kanab Elementary made some pretty rocking dinner rolls. And they’d always give me two because they thought I needed more meat on my bones.

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