Yesterday, you may have heard, New York Times Cooking unleashed its massive Thanksgiving package, which represented all 50 states with supposedly regional delicacies. In particular, normally level-headed author David Tanis pinned a weirdo hot-broiled grape-salad recipe with pecans and sour cream on Minnesota, of all places. Almost immediately, the good people of that state banded together to say they found the idea revolting. It’s been a tense 24 hours, but the paper has now changed its tune — sort of.
The #GrapeGate revolt included skeptical demos of the paper’s recipe on live television, several takedowns, lots of snark, a think piece, and an outpouring of repudiation in general. (“Whoever made this decision is dumb,” goes one of many more such Facebook reactions.)
We’d, of course, like to think that the recipe was chosen because Prince is from Minnesota, Prince recorded Purple Rain, and grapes are sometimes purple, but at least 692 of the 695 Facebook messages about the supposedly local dish did not seem satisfied by this, or by the Times’ initial, official explanation: Tanis admitted that his source, a “Minnesota-born heiress” who was perhaps too fond of hot grapes, may have somehow missed the mark, but the dish still deserves a “revival.”
While NYT Cooking chief Sam Sifton has been proffering every obscure spiral-bound community-church cookbook and Google Books result, the paper’s Public editor has now jumped in. Sifton tells Margaret Sullivan he turned to grapes because North Dakota got Lefse and Wisconsin got dibs on wild rice, but to “prove that he’s listening,” Sullivan writes, Sifton will soon come through with a replacement in the form of a recipe for Hotdish, “a true Minnesotan specialty.” Let’s just hope the one he comes up with omits the jelly.