The Country House is still there, though now sporting a new name three or so owners ago. The beer signs portraying fluorescent dreams of sky-blue water and five-pound walleye still light the bar, too. And the door from the kitchen still swings straight into the main room where the tables remain arranged exactly the same as f -- um, some years back.
Then, the menu was sheathed in plastic and short: steak (served with fries or foil-wrapped baked potatoes) and deep-fried shrimp (so exotic!) and the house specialty, fresh walleye from the Lake (ordered only by tourists since locals could catch their own for free).
Still, what I remember most is the relish tray -- fry-cut carrots, black olives (from cans, no doubt) and candied apple rings, my sister reminds me -- and those iceberg wedges that served for salad.
At home, there was no choice of dressing, just whatever Mom put on the table. But at the Country House - la-di-la, we got to choose, to decide for ourselves: Italian vinaigrette ("that's just oil and vinegar and some spices," my Mom coached) or creamy Italian ("you'd like this, Lon," she'd encourage with only small signs of growing impatience) or French or the oh-so-travel-inspiring Thousand Island.
Still it's been years and years since I've tasted the déclassé Thousand Island -- but it won't be long til the next time, now that I've learned how easy it is to make homemade Thousand Island, and how good it is, in 2007 as well as, well, 19x7. (Sorry, that key just sticks ...)
FROM THE ARCHIVES For other homemade salad dressings, see this section in the Recipe Box.
A YEAR AGO You know that old song, Poke Salad Annie? I made Poke Sallet!
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THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 1 cup
1/3 cup low-fat mayo (Hellman's is great)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I think vinegar might work too)
2 tablespoons red pepper, chopped a bit
1 table onion, minced a bit
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons water (or less or more to achieve consistency you like - don't feel the need to replicate the gloppy globby dressings from the store)
Whiz in the food processor. Serve!