Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lime jello makes everything better

I've been going through my grandmother's recipe boxes, trying to figure out the easiest way to make the recipes accessible to the family. Website? Cookbook? I'm still working out the details. She gave me four stuffed boxes filled with recipes she had accumulated since the 40s. Most are handwritten copies of family and friend's recipes. Some are clipped from newspapers or magazines and church cookbooks. I've flipped through all the old favorites: Swedish meatballs, lefse, sour cream raisin cookies, candy Lucy. All yum.

Then came the salad section. Lest you think we're dealing with something as innocuous as Waldorf salad or three bean salad, let me tell you right now, this is a whole different kind of salad. This is midwest salad. This is Lutheran salad. This is potluck salad. Each and every recipe included either jello or pineapple. Usually a combination of the two. I wanted to share the most hideous salad I could find with you, but it was a tough choice. The two runners up: Cucumber Delight Salad (contains both lime jello and cucumber) and Prune Ambrosia Salad (contains cooked prunes, coconut, and French dressing). The winner is a salad that my grandmother liked enough to copy down from a friend or family member. Its repulsive combination of ingredients makes it seem like it's really two recipes melded into one Frankensteinian potluck nightmare. For your consideration:

Olive Wreath Salad

1 can (2.5 cups) crushed pineapple
1 3 oz pkg lime jello
1/2 cup grated American cheese
1/2 cup chopped pimento
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
small stuffed olives, sliced

Drain pineapple. Heat pineapple syrup to a boil. Add to lime jello and stir until jello is dissolved. Cool. When jello begins to thicken, add pineapple, cheese, pimentos, celery, nuts, salt, and olives. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into mold and chill until firm. Serve on lettuce.

Serves 8-10

My grandmother added this note: Made on 2/1/1975. (Best for a luncheon.)