Otherwise, no salad.

A rare personal note from your humble steward about how people from the midwest interpret salad.

Yesterday at about 11am I went for a walk along the Hudson River and decided to give my mother a ring to see what the folks we up to on their Memorial day down in Florida. First of all, my mother starts off the conversation with, “Happy Memorial Day.” To which I reply, “Mom, I don’t think Memorial Day is a holiday in which you extend well wishes to people. It’s not New Year’s Day or anything.” (Which is part of what inspired the previous post.)

What can you say, mom’s got a good Midwestern heart. (Did I mention their place in Florida is on the gulf side? Or maybe you guessed that, because the gulf side is where the midwesterners go. That’s just how they roll.) Once all of the “Happy Memorial Days,” were out of the way, I asked what she was up too? “Making potato salad” she said. My next thought was instantly to the below video. Then I immediately missed my folks and the Memorial Days of my youth in the Middle West – even if it means that these days I’ll need to go to the gulf side of Florida to get some “salad.”

It is amazing how much this series hit home with me and how ahead of their time they were. Here’s an extra helping of potato salad for you Mr. Morris. Otherwise, no salad.

Comments on “Otherwise, no salad.

    Jonathan on May 31, 2011 9:45 PM:

    Agreed. These ads paid homage the old guys who nursed Pabst on Saturday mornings after the graveyard shift. Who ate pickled eggs sold out of 2 gallon jars on the bar. They threw steel tip darts. I miss those guys.

    Brown on May 31, 2011 10:07 PM:

    Oh yeah – it wasn’t Memorial Day, or the Fourth, or Labor Day until Grampa showed up with the pickled eggs. No one ate them but him. I still have the potato salad though. Ohio!

    Ramalhoni on June 1, 2011 4:49 AM:

    Here in Portugal we have a mix of potato and egg salad called – Russian Salad – I really don’t know if it has anything to do with russia but we eat it all the time with fish!… “happy memorial day” … upppss… sorry .. lololol….
    cheers from Europe..

    RPH on June 1, 2011 8:39 AM:

    The Middle West misses you Michael…

    jbjones on June 1, 2011 9:40 AM:

    today’s weather and this commercial remind me of my first beer – 8 years old with dad, just arrived at the summer rental in lavallette, nj – sweltering hot with nothing to drink but a sixer of cold, cold high life. i guess we could have had a glass of tap water – but dad, being a sucker for a ‘moment’, opted for the beer instead. i had one, he had two. mom came along soon after, none the wiser.

    Wolfgang on June 1, 2011 9:49 AM:

    My favorite ad campaign ever. The one I like the best isn’t even thirty seconds long: a simple shot of a guy pouring mayo into a bowl with the help of a rubber spatula. And the voiceover says “It’s hard to respect the French when you have to bail ’em out of two big ones in one century. But we have to hand it to ’em on mayonnaise. Nice job, Pierre.”


    Thank you Errol Morris

    Mark on June 1, 2011 10:33 AM:

    In my family (from Michigan), “salad” apparently means “any collection of cold food served in the same dish.” In addition to the usual fruit, tossed, potato, egg, and macaroni salads, our summer holidays include “Frozen Salad” which is essentially cherry ice cream pressed into a casserole dish; “Slush Salad” which is semi-frozen orange and pineapple juice with sliced bananas; “Jell-O Salad” which is any concoction involving more than one flavor of gelatin; and “Apple Salad” which is a less-healthy take on Waldorf Salad, made with apples, marshmallow, and chopped Snickers bars. None of these are considered dessert. They are all side dishes, and it can be guaranteed that after a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, and “salads”, there will always be a cake or pie (and ice cream) to finish it off. Gotta love the Midwest.

    Corey on June 1, 2011 1:21 PM:

    Two summers ago, my wife and I decided to have a Mad Men viewing party for the season premiere and made a bunch of “1960’s party foods” like meatballs (in a crock pot of course), a cheese ball (with Ritz), cocktail weenies, a chip and dip…the whole thing! And I realized, this is the exact same food my family still serves at every birthday party and holiday get-together. My wife, who is from NY, couldn’t believe it. To your point MW, there’s definitely no place like the midwest. I’m convinced that it’s still 1965 in my hometown of Belleville, IL.

    conway on June 1, 2011 1:29 PM:

    some of errol morris’ best work…here’s another good one:


    btw, the same writer who wrote this campaign (jeff kling) also wrote the original dos equis stuff.

    antimatt on June 1, 2011 1:37 PM:

    Visited my grandparents in rural Minnesota a few years ago.. went out to dinner and got a steak.
    The waitress gave me the option of a baked potato or salad.
    I asked for salad..
    it ended up being jello with canned fruit in it.

    doane on June 1, 2011 2:12 PM:

    It’s not a nocoast feast until there’s a bowl of cool whip cherry salad on the table.

    Mathew on June 1, 2011 2:52 PM:

    As a Wisconsinite (always and forever) and now transplant in Boston, first and foremost, I cherish my Miller High Life. There was nothing like heading over to a friend’s house for a holiday gathering. Walking into the garage to grab a High Life out of a his old man’s shop fridge (read… the old fridge from the kitchen) and then saddling up at the picnic table littered in “salads.” For on those days, neither one was ever in fear of running out. And if I remember correctly, the picnic table cover (a plastic, floral pattern no doubt) was stapled underneath the table to prevent any fly aways. O’ Midwest, how you show your true colors!

    2Much2Soon on June 1, 2011 5:14 PM:

    I like the way you refer to it as the Middle West.

    Jen on June 1, 2011 10:08 PM:

    My in-laws are mid-western transplants (to NYC). Every holiday must include this: a salad made of cherry jello, crushed pineapple, and julienned orange peel, topped with miracle whip and served on a leaf of iceberg lettuce. My parents (born and bred NYers) are appalled. I’ve grown rather fond of it. And it ain’t a holiday without it. I don’t really eat it, mind you. And what about Peas and Cheese? Actually, I love Peas and Cheese, if you use good Wisconsin sharp cheddar. Exotic!

    Conor Berry on June 2, 2011 5:05 AM:

    Great commercial! So much for a productive morning.

    HB on June 2, 2011 1:52 PM:

    It is better than being referred to as the Middle East!

    Adam on June 2, 2011 4:53 PM:

    Thanks for posting these videos. I watch them on a regular basis, and like many others, these are my favorite ad campaigns of all time. I remember seeing my first one on tv with the silver refrigerator humming in the background.

    I’m from Michigan as well, and I also am convinced my parents neighborhood is stuck in the 1960s. My mom made potato salad, egg salad and pasta salad on a regular basis during the summer months, and I drank High Life and PBR once I was old enough to. High Life is still my favorite beer, but I can’t get it anymore because I live in London now and they sure like their ales over here…

    These ads make me miss home a whole lot. Things were and still are far more mellow there than here. I wish I could at least have my favorite beer once in a while to remind me of home. MGD (the only Miller beer available here) just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    High Life just reminds me of hot summers, BBQs, the 4th of July, and the 1960s grocery store 2 mins walk from home. The only thing they have changed in the place is the sign out front. When I was a kid, they used to give me free pretzels, and they still have the Voortmans cookies bins near the bread aisle. Anyone remember Voortmans? You would if you are from the mid-west!

    Okay sorry for all that reminiscing…

    vaughn on June 3, 2011 12:39 AM:

    There’s some place other than the Midwest? Sorry to hear it.

    Ant on June 5, 2011 6:59 PM:

    People from the east and west coasts eat macaroni, potato, and egg salads too…

Comments are closed.