Side dish or dessert? Side dish or dessert? You’d think with only two choices, making one would be easy, but whenever I hear that option, my head starts swimming with all the possible dishes I could make. First, I lean toward dessert, because within the narrow confines of my family I am known for some pretty good ones, whether elaborate or simple. But then I start panicking about all the possible things that can go wrong, most of them having to do with accidental burning or insufficient rising, overworked crusts or underbaked centers, or missed ingredients—in a dessert, the littlest thing turns into a disaster.
The dessert disaster scenario takes only seconds and I start thinking about side dishes. Now, that’s a gigantic category encompassing appetizers, salads, vegetables, each one of those its own abyss. I’ll have to admit that what first popped into my head was a corn-black bean-mango salsa, but did I want to bring chips or turn it into a pasta salad? Not really. I quickly fell back on the old standby macaroni salad because it’s easy to make and hard to ruin, but with visions of seeing 12 different bowls of the stuff, I had to figure out how to make mine stand out or at least compete well with the others so as not to be faced with taking home the only untouched dish.
A quick trip around the web showed me the right dressing to go with the bacon, so I’m taking Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad with homemade ranch dressing.