This is a staple at barbecues, family gatherings, and reunions. During our Southern Summers, we love the juicy and refreshing experience of eating this salad! Although I had seen it plenty as a child, the first time I actually tasted fire and ice salad was when I was pregnant with my daughter almost five years ago. My husband’s company hosted family night at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, renting the entire Museum out for the night and having a catered banquet.

Now most of y’all probably think the Space museum is a pretty neat place. After all, it is home to the first Space Camp (a great deal of the 80’s movie by that name was filmed there), it is a part of our Marshall Space Flight Center and hosts the IMax along with countless priceless artifacts and memorabilia.

I thought it was pretty cool, too, the first fifty or so times I went there. You see, when you are born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, you tend to have an awful lot of family and school field trips to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Two of my grandfather’s even built rocket engines). As a little girl, my enthusiasm remained so long as Miss Baker was there. Amidst all of the rockets and space suits which I knew little about and understood even less, it was still a thrill to get to see a space monkey eat a banana.

But Miss Baker passed away in 1984 and 14 years (and many more field trips) later I married someone whose childhood dream had been to visit the U.S. Space And Rocket Center. ~sighs~. We got annual passes. We went, and went, we did the tour, we walked around the museum. We had a son - who loved to visit the U.S. Space And Rocket Center. We renewed our membership. We visited. We walked, we watched, we participated, we rode, we ate, we oohed, we ahhed, we photographed.

So there I was standing around at a banquet sponsored by my husband’s company in a museum filled with people just bursting with zeal over seeing an astronaut’s space suit that probably knew my face as well as I knew it, and I spied what amounted to a vat of Fire and Ice Salad on the buffet. Being several months pregnant, I finally had something to get excited about!

My daughter says babies sit in their Mama’s tummies and wait on her to drop food down so that they can catch it. If her theory were true, she would have been covered in tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions on that day! I don’t know how much I ate, but the next day I came home and wouldn’t you know it, I made me some more and ate that too!

If I had to describe the flavor of this salad in two words, I’d say “Refreshing” and “Fresh”. Alright so perhaps my description is a little redundant but you try it and see if I’m not right! This is the embodiment of everything a body craves on a hot summer’s day. Well, everything a body craves that doesn’t come with a little paper umbrella in the glass!

Fire and Ice Salad

From Southern Plate Cookbook Page 27

2 Tomatoes

2 Cucumbers

1 purple onion


white vinegar


Peel and slice cucumbers. Chop tomatoes and onion. Combine all in a large bowl. Mix up a dressing of equal parts Vinegar, Water, and Sugar. Pour over vegetables and refrigerate.

• I start with 1/2 cup each of my dressing ingredients.

Christy Jordan publishes, her website dedicated to teaching classic Southern Cooking as well as fast and easy family favorites. Her food columns may also be seen in the next issues of Southern Beauty Magazine and The FOOD Mag, where she serves as their Southern Foods expert. Her cookbook may be purchased at Pablo’s or on her website.

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