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Mellie’s Musings: By Melanie Akin

It is hard for some of us to believe, but there are actually people out there that do not understand the difference between congealed salads and desserts. These poor souls haven’t been taught to appreciate a good salad. What bridal luncheon would be complete without a lemon salad and cheese straws? We can’t forget about Church socials, family gatherings and ladies luncheons. These functions would not be complete with the salads.

My very own Mama makes sure that there will be a salad at every family function. Gran did the same. Gran’s orange salad remains a family favorite. The ladies from the church I grew up in knew the importance of a good salad. There were always delicious salads at church functions.

This time of year, these salads are appreciated. They are cool and refreshing. Some recipes are frozen and enjoyed during hot weather. I can’t imagine going through summer without making a few. It is convenient to have something prepared and waiting in the refrigerator, making meal preparation easier during hot weather.

Southern ladies understand the importance of having easy meals to put on the table as well as the importance of cooking early in the day. The onset of the suffocating hot weather is why Southern ladies get these things done early. Perhaps it is just one of those things that you have to experience to understand. It is merely second nature to us.

You probably have a favorite recipe and you have enjoyed your share of your Mama’s salads. My Mama has an arsenal of these recipes at her fingertips. When our daughters get ready to start cooking, this is often one of the first things Southern Mamas teach their daughters to prepare. We hope that our daughters will enjoy the salads as much as we have and come across their own recipes that will become family favorites.

These favorites have made an appearance in my kitchen this year. It is difficult to decide which one is actually my favorite. My old dog-eared copy of Heavenly Delights, a cookbook from Smyrna containing some of the best on the planet recipes is waiting on me. These tried and true recipes do not disappoint. It almost makes me happy to see hot weather. Okay, maybe not happy to see the suffocating heat. Maybe I am happy that we have something cool to enjoy during oppressive heat.