My grandmother Reta made the best Waldorf Salad. She had a way with apples. Her father was an apple-drier in Upstate New York, who made the rounds in a horse and wagon to the local apple farms, drying apples for the farmers at the turn of the 20th century. The advent of refrigeration killed his business. Apples for our family are a big part of our family lore. And now that it's apple season, it's one of my favorite times of the year.
Reta celebrating her 102nd birthday. That's not me, it's my cousin Suzanne.
Reta lived to three weeks shy of her 105th birthday. She was a lover of food. When she cooked, she was insistent upon the best ingredients, simply prepared. She and Bapa, my grandfather, hosted the most fantastic Christmas dinner each year, inviting all of their Rochester, New York friends to their home in South Florida. It never felt like Christmas on the outside with pink lights on houses, but in that house, it really was.
One of the things that Nana did so well was restrain herself when she was around lots of food. She never gobbled, rushed, or otherwise hurried with what she ate. If she wanted a cookie, she had a cookie. One. Cookie. Not a handful, not a faux-food cookie. One cookie.
I have, in the interest of lightening up this recipe for the benefit of my husband, started making it with plain yogurt. It's not as creamy. Maybe a half-mayo, half-yogurt approach works best for you.
Nana's Waldorf Salad
5 medium apples, cored and chopped (use an eating variety instead of a cooking variety)
2 stalks celery, destringed and chopped
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or mayo, or half and half mayo-yogurt)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 pinch of Kosher salt
Cut apples and celery and place in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice (keeps apples from browning) and stir. Add raisins, walnut pieces and yogurt. Put a pinch of Kosher salt (or half a pinch of regular salt) in and stir all together. Serve chilled.