Grapes of wrath? Minnesotans prefer to mock Times' curious culinary choice

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When life gives you grapes ... make salad.

That's the attitude many Minnesotans seemed to adopt the day after the New York Times proclaimed grape salad the state's signature Thanksgiving dish.

Yes, many residents were initially aghast when the Times assigned grape salad to Minnesota as part of a feature story identifying the Thanksgiving dish that most evokes each state.

The Facebook page associated with the Times' Minnesota choice was quickly populated with comments calling the selection ridiculous, suggesting better alternatives, and wanting to know the identity of the "Minnesota-born heiress" who told the writer that grape salad was always part of her family's holiday.

Even one of the Times' own writers, Minneapolis-born David Carr, when asked to weigh in on the burgeoning controversy sided with the natives. Carr's Facebook comment reads:

"Grape. Salad. Grape Salad! May a hail of tater tots mercilessly bury you. Where do I start the petition? I ask you fellow Minnesotans, grab your lanterns and pitchforks and let's make them put those grapes, um, well, that wouldn't be Minnesota nice, would it?"

Soon, though, the umbrage subsided and another response took hold.

The taste of sour grapes gave way as Minnesotans planted tongue in cheek and embraced the grape.

Food critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl offered her own top 10 list of typical Minnesotan Thanksgiving dishes, which were marinated in the state's stereotypes. Examples:

  • Seven Lake Mille Lacs crappies, breaded with Malt-O-Meal, fried in recycled Zamboni oil
  • Venison baked in a crust of road-salt, served with ravioli stuffed with sauteed medallions of roof of Metrodome

By the time #grapegate was trending, there was some response from New York. The beleaguered Times writer, David Tanis, waded into the Facebook fray with a comment:

And later, #embracethegrape was garnished (courtesy of another Times writer) with a tidbit about Joyce Lamont, who shared recipes for decades on WCCO radio and included one for Holiday Grape Salad in a spiral bound cookbook.

But as the Twitter tempest churned on, there came one suggestion for something else to serve on the Thanksgiving table – gratitude.

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