Tag Archives: desserts

Root Beer Floats

This one’s for Nacho Man.

It actually was, for his birthday.

Nacho Man will, on very rare occasions, unexpectedly come home from work with vanilla ice cream and a bottle of root beer, and whip up his signature dessert. Afterward, he will wipe his brow as though he just catered a party for 200, but chances are I don’t care because it’s hot but I’ve got something to keep me cool.

So for his most recent birthday, I decided to do the hard work and treat him. At least that’s what I told him. Because it sounded so much more thoughtful than, “I spent all my spare time reading a novel and ran out of time to bake.”

Looks pretty good to me. Except that when I examined my profile photos of the finished product, I realized that the glass was less than half full. This is not necessarily the sort of thing you realize when you’re looking at something with your eye.

One point for the camera.

Now we don’t need to be having heaping glasses of root beer floats, on account of this nacho thing we’re kind of into, so my solution:

This time, with chocolate shavings.

Hmm. This time the camera is showing me that my vanilla ice cream looks like cubed potato.

Nacho Man could care less about the type of vessel we use to serve a root beer float. I could present it in a plant pot and he’d say, “Thank you.” Which is kind of nice, when you think about it in the abstract.

But only in the abstract.

For me, putting dessert in a long-stemmed wine glass or champagne flute makes it feel grown up and sophisticated, enjoyed by the kinds of folks who eat polite-sized portions and don’t scrape out the inside of the bowl or cup like they’re scaling a fish.

Which might have to become Resolution #3.

Root Beer Floats


vanilla ice cream

root beer

whipped cream (we like Reddi Wip for these)

maraschino cherries (optional)

chocolate shavings (optional)


Put 1 scoop ice cream in a glass. Add root beer. Top with whipped cream and cherries or chocolate shavings if desired.




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Cool Whip Salad, or, The Loose Application of the Term ‘Salad’

‘Loose’ application? More like ‘dangling by a thread’ application.

About eight years ago, when I was in graduate school, we had a school friend of mine over for dinner. He introduced us to this dish, which was a staple at his family get-togethers in the Midwest.

To say that we viewed it with trepidation is an understatement.

We had to ask what it was.

“Cool whip, Snickers bars, and green apple,” he replied.

I know the expression on your faces. I had the same one.

Until recently, we’d only had this concoction once, but Nacho Man remembered it fondly when I told him what I was making.

It may not make a great first impression, but it leaves an amazing lasting impression.

One 8-oz container of Original Cool Whip, one green apple, and a couple of Snickers bars, or a hearty handful of Minis.

Plop the entire container of Cool Whip into a bowl. Stir it up so that the consistency is nice and smooth.

Chop up the green apple into bite-sized chunks. You want a crisp, tart apple to balance the sweetness of the Cool Whip and Snickers. You also want the green apple because without it, you might as well dip your Snickers bars into the Cool Whip and be done with it.

I’m getting giddy.

Chop up the Snickers bars. This is another of those Cooking by Proportions recipes. Put in as much as feels right…or wrong.

T-LAR: That Looks About Right.

But you’d better taste it to be sure.

And here you go:

Unidentifiable bumpy stuff in white goo. So delicious. It makes grownups giggle like children and reach for seconds.

Normally you serve salad before the main course. I strongly encourage you to serve this salad after your guests have had their real food. But I’m not there to see what you do in the privacy of your own home, so serve it whenever you feel like it.

Cool Whip Salad (serves 4-6)


one 8-oz container Original Cool Whip

two Snickers bars, or the equivalent of Minis (a hearty handful)

one green apple


1. Put the Cool Whip in a serving bowl and stir well.

2. Dice the green apple and add to the Cool Whip. Incorporate.

3. Chop the Snickers bars and add to the bowl. Mix.

4. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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