March 17, 2010

Speak southern and carry a Jell-o salad

jello salad
{not a true Jell-o salad…what with the olives and all}
There are certain things that are so distinctly southern to me. It can be hard sometimes to explain what this means, what gives a thing or a place that southern feel. Often these southern things begin to sound cliché, but in order for a cliché to exist, it must have occurred many times over to be accepted as such. My southern experience is unique to me, just as your experience (be it southern or otherwise) is unique to you. All I know is that the south means home for me, and things that feel southern feel like home too.

One particular thing that reminds me of home is Jell-o salad. Many variations exist, but I can promise you that all true southern Jell-o salads contain crushed pineapple and one of the following: cool whip, cream cheese, or cottage cheese.

I have never been to a church homecoming that didn't have at least two different Jell-o salads included in the spread, and usually four or more were present (different flavors of Jell-o make for completely different tastes!).

One issue that can arise in times like this is the question: Is it a dessert or a side dish? I'm of the camp believing while it may be sweet, Jell-o salad does not a dessert make (that’s where cobbler, pie and cakes come in) I like to see it somewhere on the table with all the other side dishes and if I have to scootch my green beans over to make room for a slab of pink fluff, I'm prepared to do so. That's another thing great about this dish, with names like 'strawberry fluff, frost pink, and green salad delight' how could it bring anything but joy to the world?

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I want to share a favorite Jell-o salad recipe: Green Salad Delight. There is nothing especially Irish about it, but it is green and very delicious (even says so in the recipe!).

Green Salad Delight
1 6oz package lime jell-o 1 cup mayonaise
2 cups boiling water 1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 large (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple 1 small carton cottage cheese
1 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve jell-o in boiling water. Add a little at a time to mayo until blended. Add pineapple, juice included. Add other ingredients; stir. Pour in 9x13x2” pan or Pyrex bowl and refrigerate overnight. Slice and serve. Delicious!
Recipe credit: Dining with Pioneers, vol.1