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gelatinous holiday horrors


bavila
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The green bean casserole thread seems to have crossed over into other lame foods allegedly favored by white people and carefully prepared from various and sundry packaged or frozen or canned foods, like jello salads.

Go on egulleters, while we're baring our (or our phillistine families') souls about canned cream soup traditions or lack thereof, let's bring out our best (worst?) jello salad stories.

My mom dutifully makes her cranberry gelatin salad every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Raspberry Jello, pecans, oranges, canned cranberry jelly. What kills me is that she'll make a vat of the stuff and section oranges for it. If you're going to go to the trouble of sectioning oranges, why not use fresh cranberries, throw them in the processor with orange zest and Cointreau for a lovely relish? Much easier...

But all this Jello madness is surely not about being logical, or simple.

I also remember something with lime Jello, evaporated milk, canned crushed pineapple and marshmallows. Ack. Blech.

One canned gelatinous product I will serve is canned cranberry jelly -- sliced, then cut with a turkey-shaped cookie cutter that was my grandmother's. She died when I was 1yo, so this is my way of connecting with her and her own little tradition.

Oh, and if there's already a thread on this topic, frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Edited by bavila (log)

Bridget Avila

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okay, i'm usually a lurker around here, but i have a truly, truly awful story to tell. i've probably shared it before, but it bears repeating. i went to the bridal shower of a relative when i was about 15, where the main course at the luncheon was a square of lemon jello made with milk or whatever to make it opaque, with pimento-stuffed green olives molded in it. on top of this was a cream sauce with CANNED BABY SHRIMP in it. it was served on a piece of leaf lettuce, which would have been the only edible thing on the plate if it didn't have the shrimp sauce on it. looked, smelled, and tasted like vomit. it was horrible. horrible.

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We had that lime jello stuff, too - no marshmallows, but with the pineapple and cottage cheese.

But worst of all was Grandma's Red Jello Salad: Red jello (cherry, raspberry, often a mix), canned fruit cocktail, served on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of Hellmann's Mayonnaise on top. Disgusting doesn't even start to cover it. But we had to eat some so as not to hurt Grandma's feelings.

Grandma is no longer with us, and thankfully, neither is her Jello salad.

My mother makes a ribbon Jello salad that's really good - very thin layers of flavored Jello with a sweetened sour cream gelatin mixture between. It makes a lot, but it's pretty, and it's just Jello after all.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

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For those not in the know what the hell is "shrimp mold" I am assuming it is shrimp suspended in jell-o. Yes?

Sort of, but not flavored Jell-O!

It's made with chopped boiled shrimp (preferably boiled in water seasoned with Zatarain's Shrimp or Crab Boil), chopped green onions and celery, mixed with softened cream cheese and mayo and mixed with unflavored gelatin (and probably other ingredients). Pour it all into the appropriate mold, chill, umold, and serve with crackers. It's a ubiquitous dish served at bridal, wedding, and/or baby showers, wedding receptions, holiday office parties, etc. in south Louisiana. Anywhere else?

Edited to add: Tomato soup is one of the "other" ingredients. I should've quit while I was ahead.

Edited by patti (log)

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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Yes!!!

I can always count on a disgusting food thread no matter what the holiday. Gawd I love this place. :wub:

I'm wondering if it's because my mother is from Europe (not to say that Scotland has a terribly fine bill of fare), but we never had those gack-awful Jell-O creations in our house. I think my father (off the Italian boat) would have thrown her out of the house. :biggrin:

I'm fascinated with that shrimp mold. Does anyone have a photo??? I envision it to be somewhat salmon-colored...

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Y'know, I find gelatin based desserts pretty harmless and quite pretty. Adding fruit or whipped cream to it seems like a natural but no mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, please. Those are for the sandwiches. My mother made plain Jell-o (remember when there were only a few flavors?) with a dollop of whipped cream. My grandmother made the lime jello mixed with canned pears or fruit cocktail and whipped cream. I liked it. But again, it's pretty harmless stuff. Comforting in a way, actually. :rolleyes:

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I've never had a bad Jello experience until, recently, at a Las Vegas buffet breakfast. It looked so innocently tempting. Took a green and a red one for those at our table. One mouthful and...YUCKS!...I had to spit it out...discreetly, of course. It's so wrong and so unlike anything I'm used to, which is usually a sweet/sour/tangy wobbly ending to a good meal.

Edited by Tepee (log)

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I adore that cranberry thing. In the South, we call them 'congealed salads' - I love that dowdy name, too! I like the sweet ones and shrimp mold, but not vegetable ones. And tomato aspic (people sometimes act like this is different from a congealed salad and better, somehow) gives me the shivers!

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This one looks as if it's just boated, with the gaff marks intact...yuk!!!

The one I've made for many years, for Southern showers and weddings and "cocktayul suppahs" is pretty---shiny and pink and chock-full of chopped shrimp, big ole juicy ones, simmered just til pink in a pot with lovely seasonings and lemon slices, then mixed with cream cheese, with the faintest thought of Old Bay and horseradish. And an olive slice for the eye...so no one will think it's dessert.

And my dear late Mother would have been looked at askance had she arrived at a church supper without her famous Sawdust Salad.

And lest anyone seek to drum me out of the corps, I came by this honestly, through a lifetime of DAR, WMU, Eastern Star and a sister who's a card-carrying member of the DOC. (Well, not really CARRYING, exactly. It's in a frame on the wall. In the living room).

(Chris LOVES "that green Jello stuff"---has requested it for Christmas dinner).

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This one looks as if it's just boated, with the gaff marks intact...yuk!!!

The one I've made for many years, for Southern showers and weddings and "cocktayul suppahs" is pretty---shiny and pink and chock-full of chopped shrimp, big ole juicy ones, simmered just til pink in a pot with lovely seasonings and lemon slices, then mixed with cream cheese, with the faintest thought of Old Bay and horseradish. And an olive slice for the eye...so no one will think it's dessert.

And my dear late Mother would have been looked at askance had she arrived at a church supper without her famous Sawdust Salad.

And lest anyone seek to drum me out of the corps, I came by this honestly, through a lifetime of DAR, WMU, Eastern Star and a sister who's a card-carrying member of the DOC. (Well, not really CARRYING, exactly. It's in a frame on the wall. In the living room).

(Chris LOVES "that green Jello stuff"---has requested it for Christmas dinner).

OK, racheld, I'll bite. What is sawdust salad? :huh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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When my first baby was born, my mother in law brought over her "salmon mousse". I'll eat just about anything, specially if I don't have to make it, but I couldn't handle it. Neither could my husband. We offered it to our basset hound who was known to even eat bottle caps. He refused it as well.

When my MIL asked how we liked it, my husband waxed poetic. So guess what? She made us another - bigger - one the next week.

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OK, racheld, I'll bite. What is sawdust salad? :huh:

It's an oddly Southern (or Southernly odd--a redundancy of great proportions--or what's the opposite of oxymoron?) dessert/salad/concoction of painstakingly- layered Jello, each one allowed to set in the obligatory 9x13 (a piece of kitchen equipment handed down for generations, and the absolute BASE of a Delta Deb's Hope Chest, along with crochet-edged pillowslips, two dozen napkins and a devilled egg plate).

And there are other layers, involving draining crushed pineapple and saving the juice---pineapple goes into one layer or the other, juice is cooked with flour, I think, maybe an egg, resulting in a viscous, gray substance quite like spreading Elmer's glue between the two quivery layers of Jello.

More chilling and setting, then the whipping of cream, mixing with cream cheese, spreading THAT while trying not to break up the jiggly, jewelly stuff beneath. A final scattering of FINELY shredded very sharp cheddar (the sawdust of the title--a nom de dish of the Better than Sex Cake persuasion).

Chill, Saran Wrap, and carry forth to any and all Church Suppers, Barn Raisings, Shrimp Boils or Dinners on the Ground. It can compete with almost all Bean casseroles, Angel Biscuits and Macaroni salads (but not devilled eggs or Paminna Cheese).

I have the recipe somewhere in the big box of clippings, magazine pages, hand-written notes and shards of cooking history which I retrieved from the kitchen drawer when Daddy sold our family home. I Googled the title, and found one online, but it uses toasted coconut for the "sawdust." Sacrilege.

Cut in squares, serve it out with an egg turner, and gild that lily with a dollop of Blue Plate Mayonnaise. Generations of slow-talking, kitchen-proud cooks will smile.

Edited by racheld (log)
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You have inspired me!

Managed to find the one store in D.C. that is selling blood oranges at a decent price and I am making individual molded jellies* with them as part of dessert for Chanukah/Christmas. If cheap enough, I may use my cooper lobster mold instead of custard cups.

Now, you all decide how I should decorate it or plate them...and if I do the lobster, what edible substance should serve as the green gunk.

*Deborah Madison, large one, December issue of Gourmet, 2000. Back in the 1980s, I made a slightly boozy ruby red grapefruit gelatin dessert and one of my guests told me it was very "in" in Japan the year before.

Toodles.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

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The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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You have inspired me! 

Managed to find the one store in D.C. that is selling blood oranges at a decent price and I am making individual molded jellies with them as part of dessert for Chanukah/Christmas.  If cheap enough, I may use my cooper lobster mold instead of custard cups. 

Now, you all decide how I should decorate it or plate them...and if I do the lobster, what edible substance should serve as the green gunk.

Toodles.

How about tinting either sour cream or cream cheese with the appropriate yuck-colored food dye? :shock:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I have to say, my family's traditional T-giving jello mold is one of my favorite comfort foods. I think my grandma did it with lemon jello, but it's also good with cherry - add fresh cranberries ground w/oranges, chopped walnuts, chopped apple, and pomegranite seeds. It's labor intensive, but oh so yummy and pretty too.

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