You have to admit, Upstate New York dreams up some truly weird delicacies. Grape pie? White hots? And now we’re naming the local baseball team after the Garbage Plate? Everywhere you look, iconic regional dishes play a huge role in WNY culture. It took this writer 30 months in Rochester to encounter this particular dish in person after hearing about it dozens of times.
A Stealthy Salad
One dish you’re not likely to encounter until you’ve spent some time in the ROC getting close with the locals is the Fashion Park Salad. Like most celebrated concoctions, it’s been widely modified, but a true FPS is defined by a very precise recipe according to those in the know. So don’t believe it when you hear that “Fashion Park” just means “anything you find in the fridge.” There are definitely cold cuts. Vegetables? Not as many as you’d think. And the dressing — there’s no substitute.
Fashioning a Fashion Park
Now for that recipe so secret we couldn’t find it anywhere else online. A search reveals only a single diner in Cleveland serving the dish and an attribution to Wallis Simpson, wife of King Edward the VIII. (Could it be an Upstate import?!) If you want to impress dyed-in-the-wool Rochesterians, chop up these ingredients and get out the ketchup and mayo. There’s no sandwich here, but there might as well be.
- Swiss Cheese
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Romaine or Iceberg lettuce
Now for the key ingredient — homemade Russian dressing. Just ketchup and mayonnaise is fine, though jazzing things up with horseradish, pimentos, chives, and spices wouldn’t be too far-fetched. Dress it up and you’ve got a protein-packed salad with a peculiar name that Rochester claims as its own.