Thanksgiving Tradition: Mom's Bloat Salad is actually quite delicious

Thanksgiving Tradition: Mom’s Ambrosia Salad Recipe

This Ambrosia Salad Recipe is out of this world in a very 60’s throwback kind of way. In our family, we call it Bloat Salad, which does not sound like a super delicious name for what is actually a tasty dish. But there is a funny family story behind it.

My mom used to make this easy salad for every Thanksgiving dinner, and it quickly became a favorite tradition our entire family looked forward to. The real name of this dish is Ambrosia Salad, because perhaps it tastes like the Nectar of the Gods? Not sure on that one, but we do love it nonetheless for its decadent, sweet fruitiness. (Mom’s Ambrosia Salad recipe is included in this post!)

So how did it get the unfortunate nickname, you ask? We have my Uncle Sam to thank for that.

My mom and her brother Sam, my famous uncle (Mendocino, CA 1996)

The Story Behind Mom’s Ambrosia Salad Recipe

As we typically do at family feasts and especially Thanksgiving, we would overindulge and pile our plates high with all the usuals: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, warm buns, cranberry sauce and other deliciousness. And this Ambrosia Salad recipe of course.

And each year we would sit around after dinner and slices of pie, rubbing our bellies and complaining of how full we have become. In his discomfort, Uncle Sam would comment how bloated he felt, and would blame the salad. Of all the many things he put on his plate and into his stomach, the Ambrosia Salad was the culprit?

Through the years, we would all laugh and tease Uncle Sam as he annually proclaimed “I’m feel so bloated. It’s that damn salad that put me over the deep end”! And thus, the name Bloat Salad was born and will forever more be the name of this delicious concoction.

Here’s mom’s Ambrosia Salad recipe if you would like to make a serving  yourself. (It really is good, and I promise is NOT the cause of any excessive bloating!)

Despite the nickname, this Ambrosia Salad is quite delicious in a 1960s kind of way.


Anne Bailey’s Ambrosia Salad Recipe

  • Two cans mandarin orange segments in syrup – drained
  • Two cans pineapple chunks – drained
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup sweet shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream (I think my mom used Cool Whip!)

Mix ingredients together, chill and serve.

I think this dish is technically 1960s trash, along with jello molds and the occasional serving of Spam. Hey, no shaming – all families have their traditions and this is ours. Thank you Uncle Sam for firmly putting Bloat Salad at top billing. Dang I miss that man.

What’s your trashy family tradition? Come on, I know you have one….. share away!

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    One thought on “Thanksgiving Tradition: Mom’s Ambrosia Salad Recipe

    1. Yes, got to love these family traditions from the past. Our family still loves the hash brown casserole made with mushroom soup. lol

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