How to host a Memorial Day to remember

Make the day special with a southwestern corn salad

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  • | 6:11 a.m. May 24, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Memorial Day is considered to be the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. Family gatherings featuring barbequed or grilled meats and vegetables are a traditional part of the celebration.

But Memorial Day is more than just a cookout. Memorial Day is a federal holiday created to remember those who died while serving our country. The holiday originated after the Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers. Today, the holiday commemorates all of those who served in the U.S. military who sacrificed their lives for our country. It is observed every year on the last Monday in May. Originally, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day because the graves of dead soldiers were cleaned and beautified with flowers and flags.

Moina Michael is credited with the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died. In 1915, she was the first to wear one, and also sold poppies to raise money for charities serving soldiers in need. In 1922, the Veterans of Foreign Wars began to sell poppies and expanded the program to selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.

On Dec. 28, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law a Congressional resolution establishing a "National Moment of Remembrance." It asks that at 3 p.m. local time, Americans pause "to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps.'"

Try my recipe for Southwestern Corn Salad as a side for your Memorial Day meal. And while you gather with your family and friends, remember those who sacrificed their lives to make the freedoms we enjoy possible.


If you're pressed for time, make the dressing up to two days ahead. Cover and chill. Stir well before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. The corn can be grilled and cut from cobs one hour ahead. Store the salad in an air-tight container at room temperature.

4 ears of corn, husked

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 ounces Cotija or Parmesan cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large avocado, diced

  1. Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. To make the dressing: In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne, 1/4 cup Cotija cheese and 1 tablespoon cilantro.
  3. Add the corn, black beans, avocado and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper; toss to combine. Top with remaining cheese and cilantro. Serves four.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children's author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is "The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook." Her website is To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis. (c) 2016 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis