Minnesota to New York Times: We do not eat grape salad for Thanksgiving

And now, #grapegate. Tuesday’s New York Times story deeming grape salad a Minnesota Thanksgiving tradition … or something … got local foodies’ ire up. At the Strib, Lee Svitak Dean writes, “Surprise turned to outrage and then mockery as Minnesotans took to social media, venting over the choice of a food most had never seen on a Thanksgiving table. Hashtags #embracethegrape and #grapegate took over Twitter. Soon, ‘grapes’ were trending in the Twin Cities. ‘What do you think, should we swap out the cherry for a traditional Minnesotan grape?’ tweeted the Walker Art Center about its iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. ‘My favorite part of the holiday is pruning my family grape tree for our traditional grape hot dish,’ tweeted Kelsey Thaves, with a photo of a grapevine.”

At NPR, Linda Holmes writes, “I was not raised in Minnesota, but I earned my stripes there during 10 winters as a resident, scraping my windshield through a fog of existential despair. … I have never in my life heard of a ‘grape salad.’ Not at Thanksgiving, not at Christmas, not during a Vikings game, not during the Winter Carnival, not during the State Fair, and not during the greatest state holiday: the annual hockey tournament of the Minnesota State High School League. … I am aware that the Times says it got this recipe from a ‘Minnesota-born heiress’ (note that she’s not Minnesotan, but ‘Minnesota-born,’ which could very well mean she was born during a family’s brief layover at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, not an outlandish possibility since there is a lot of snow and we are a hub).”

The Gothamist adds, “The NY Times—a paper where trends often rise and fall on the word of one person—had just one source on this ‘grape salad’ thing: a Minnesota-born heiress, who told them ‘it was always part of the holiday buffet in her family.’ … Other Minnesotans have also reacted, including the paper’s own David Carr, who posted on Facebook, ‘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?’ Our guesstimate on how many rustic Brooklyn restaurants are currently adding Grape Salad to the menu: 7.” Apparently anything is better than talking the weather or politics.

Maybe with soccer we’ll really truly be major league? At the Strib, Mike Kaszuba says, “Representatives from Minnesota, Sacramento and Las Vegas will make presentations to MLS officials Thursday in New York in hopes of obtaining an expansion franchise. The three cities are vying to become the 24th Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, and would begin play before the end of the decade, according to league officials.”

Despite the occasional well-publicized recidivist, MPR’s Brandt Williams says, “Minnesota’s DWI courts reduce repeat crimes and save taxpayers around $700,000 a year, according to a study released Wednesday. The study, conducted by a Portland, Oregon-based firm, looked at courts in nine counties created to reduce the number of repeat driving while intoxicated offenders by combining drug and alcohol treatment with the criminal justice system. Shannon Carey, executive vice president and research associate at NPC Research, said in eight of the nine courts, people who completed their court-ordered treatment programs were less likely to re-offend than people who didn’t finish them. Carey says most counties with DWI courts spent less on law enforcement and jail costs.”

He tried. Says Randy Furst in the Strib, “The Brooklyn Park civil engineer thought hard about the risks before he returned to Somalia last year to help repair the waterworks infrastructure of his war-torn country. On Monday the risks became real when he was murdered. … Family members, plus some Twin Cities Somali leaders, said the description of the shooting raised doubts that it was the work of Al-Shabab; they wondered if had to do with an attempted robbery, contract killing or some other explanation.”

Is there really much of a deterrence factor with these kinds of assaults? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib reports, “Faced with a growing number of assaults against nurses and other medical providers by out-of-control patients, a proposal at the Legislature seeks to stiffen the penalties for such attacks. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, wants to increase prison sentences and fines to equal those who attack police officers.”

And yet another blow to the entrepreneurial spirit. Brian Bakst at the AP says, “A medical-device company lost out on a hefty Minnesota subsidy on Wednesday after the firm and its leader were criminally charged. The Department of Employment and Economic Development scrapped a potential $800,000 package tied to an expansion and hiring proposal put forth by Vascular Solutions. … Vascular Solutions and CEO Howard Root were federally indicted last week on charges of conspiring to sell a varicose-vein treatment device for unapproved medical uses.”

It’s impossible to think about spring … when winter hasn’t even started yet! But Tim Nelson at MPR writes, “When the $62 million [St. Paul Saints] stadium opens in May, the home of the city’s minor league baseball team will take a major step forward as an environmentally friendly sports facility. A canopy of photovoltaic solar panels next to the baseball field will generate 103 kilowatts of power for Minnesota’s newest sports complex, a 7,000-seat facility owned by the city of St. Paul. … That’s only about a tenth of the power needed to run the lights and meet the energy needs for the rest of the stadium.”

Not that its ever anything but a waste of time debating the climate-change-denying crowd, but MPR’s Paul Huttner has this to say about “the hoax” and that incredible snowfall in western New York. “So all that snow… in November is certainly proof that climate change is bunk, right? No way you get that kind of snow if the climate is actually warming? Not so fast. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive. How can you have more snow, earlier in the season with a warming climate?

An oversimplified explanation goes like this.

  • Warmer climate = warmer water in Lake Erie

  • Arctic warming = a wavier jet stream pushing unseasonably cold arctic air mass into the eastern U.S.

  • Unusually cold air masses and unusually warm lake water temps = extreme temperature contrast of 50 degrees between lake surface and air mass

  • Extreme temperature contrast = more intense lake effect snowfall rates of 3 to 5 inches per hour with 60″+ snowfall totals.”

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/20/2014 - 07:00 am.

    Supporters of….

    the global warming hypothesis can attribute any change in weather to it. If it’s warm, cold, sunny, cloudy, windy, raining, not raining, snowing, not snowing then it must be due to global warming. It is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 11/20/2014 - 08:33 am.

      Yeah. Gotta love…

      the part about Lake Erie being warmer. All lakes are warmer in November than January and February. Duh.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/20/2014 - 11:39 am.

        Love It!

        Yeah, there’s usually a 50° temperature swing between the air and water temperature at any given time of the year, but especially in November!

        Oh wait, there isn’t…

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/20/2014 - 08:52 am.

      Deniers of . . .

      global warming can be recognized by their steadfast refusal to consider any scientific evidence, which manifests itself in hands over their ears, accompanied by a loud chorus of “Not true! Not true! Al Gore stinks!” They can’t believe it, because they just can’t (“That would mean I agree with libruls! So help me Rush, that will never happen!”).

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/20/2014 - 09:13 am.


      ‘supporters’ of climate change (more specifically, those who acknowledge it’s existence and humankind’s role in it) don’t attribute _specific_ weather events to climate change. You look at the trends over time and can say that individual weather events will become more severe on average.

      Putting one’s head in the sand solves nothing… and actively denying climate science, and delaying a necessary social response, hurts future generations.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/21/2014 - 10:11 am.


      I don’t think climate change is a hoax but that it has been occurring to the earth many centuries and many times with or without human influence and is completely natural. What is debatable is how much of an effect humans have had on it. It’s true that humans have contributed to climate change but so have many other things out of our control and to a much greater extent so the amount we are responsible for is debatable. What we don’t need are the alarmists jumping up and down shouting it’s our fault and demanding that we fix it when we may not have that much of an effect on it.

  2. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/20/2014 - 08:16 am.

    More fruit from “grape-gate”

    Who cares about some transplanted “heiress’ from New York or Paris who drank too much grape…

    plus the journalist rake who swallowed the words “grape salad”, one unacceptable fake with no knowledge
    or viable research of this state and
    the feast in question?

    Dare I mention the honorable cranberry or lingen-berry, its heritage cousin, do grace our state’s splendid table accenting
    the flavor of all it surveys, where linen and thanksgiving hallmark the day?

    May this ‘turkey’, whomever; the heiress in question,
    be gobbled and booed in protest of one most
    fraudulent fake of late,
    may she reach a most dastardly fate, like
    choke on the grape…

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/20/2014 - 08:23 am.

    Grape Salad IS a Minnesota dish

    Jay Kolls told me so.

  4. Submitted by Pat Brady on 11/20/2014 - 09:23 am.

    What is the difference between the MN heiress and a rich MN woman who inheireted family money?
    The first becomes the spokeperson for” grage salad ” spoof that the NTY bought hook, line and sinker including her self identity.
    The second, having a great MN wit, is laughing all the way to Lunds with her list of ingredients for the two jello salads that will grace her table during Thanksgiving

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/20/2014 - 10:09 am.

    …consider maybe left-overs…going cold turkey on this one

    The day after:
    Actually as a non-traditionalist at times cold turkey embraced by top-of-the- line lefse; those particular church basement lefse makers I remember, now dead. Could say my two aunts-in-law were the lefse queens of Amboy .

    Bless the dead aunts and their great lefse both beyond revival.
    Add a grape salad like no other from a small Italian place up north Italiano’s and the grape does or could have it’s place as one festive aftermath,,, but nothing like that contrived salad in the NY article…enough here, yes…

  6. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/20/2014 - 03:07 pm.

    Clearly the grape skeptics don’t like art and

    hadn’t ever been to the former Minnesota Museum Modern Arts Scandinavian restaurant in St. Paul.


    One of their staples was a grape dish that was basically a platter with a thin coating of sour cream a layer of grapes and sprinkled with brown sugar. It was along side other Scandinavian treats.

    I imagine it depends on what your heritage was and how traditions got passed down in your family. I personally have never had a tater tot and I’ve lived her continuously from 1958 and have been in a lot of church basements.

    As an aside, for more art deco buildings in Minnesota see:

  7. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 11/21/2014 - 09:30 am.

    Last word on grape salad

    The obvious reason for the grape salad “bungle” is that it was intentional. New Yorkers are upset about Gavin Kaysen’s choice of Minneapolis as the home for his new restaurant, Spoon and Stable. The kerfluffle generated by the supposed gaffe was really intended to divert attention form S&S’s opening.

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