Throwback Thursday!

Updating Chicken Chow Mein to Peanut Noodle Salad

I have a large collection of retro cookbooks. I love many things about them. They inform us of changing food norms. They tell us what previous generations thought was ‘new and modern’. They are amazing little time capsules. Some of those time capsules are kind of scary, though.

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we take one of those older recipes and update it for current tastes. Once in a while, that can be identifying an older gem and just bringing it into the current age. Most often that means changing just about everything.

Today’s recipe is certainly one that just had to be scrapped. When I saw the original I literally got sick to my stomach. The combination of things is disgusting – and not just because it is animal products. I mean, that is part of it, but in this case just a part. The cream of mushroom soup with pineapple bits? All that is Holy, save me from this food blasphemy! How did we ever survive 1963 eating food of this kind? BLEH! A THOUSAND BLEHS!!!! And because this was a very popular cookbook from 1963, I almost promise that someone, somewhere did make this and eat it. The humanity!!!

Here is the original, fresh from the end of the Kennedy era.


Here is my update. It uses noodles, but the creamy quality comes from the peanut butter. There are noodles but fresh rice noodles instead of pre-fried ones from a box. This is a delicious recipe that is a huge favorite every time I make it. I also have many meat eating friends that love and request this. So here is my updated version.


Peanut Noodle Salad
Makes dinner for 2

2 small packages of thin rice noodles, uncooked or 2 cups cooked
4-6 green onions
1 cup of spring peas
3 carrots, shredded
½ an English cucumber
½ cup of chopped peanuts
¼ cup of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
About 2 tablespoons of lime juice
8-10 basil leaves

If the rice noodles are uncooked, boil water and soak the rice noodles for about 5 minutes, until soft. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, agave, lime juice, and soy sauce. Once smooth, set to the side. Remove the ends from the green onions, dice. Slice the green pea pods thinly. Shred the carrots. Remove the ends from the English cucumbers, and dice. Add the rice noodles to the peanut butter mixture, and toss. Add all the ingredients and toss. Chiffonade the basil leaves, and sprinkle on top. Serve.


About Madelyn Pryor