Since writing this today, I've looked up recipes online which feature Jello and Blueberry Pie Filling, and all seem to have some kind of Cream Cheese/Sugar/Sour Cream topping which may have alleviated or intensified the YUCK factor. And all those recipes call for GRAPE Jello, which would render it darker and even more gruesome, I think.
I’ve had quite a few requests to hear more about THE DREADED BLUEBERRY/BLACK CHERRY SALAD, and though it gives me a bit of a quease to speak of the stuff, I suppose that NOW, with minds geared to the Spooky Season, and gore rampant on movie screen and television---now would be the time, if there is one. I was just thinking of all the mayhem and gory fare offered at our local movie theater, where we go to the early weekend matinee (we call it “let’s go have popcorn for breakfast") and when I clicked “Sunday” for movie times to see AMELIA---she was still as lost as before, with nary a sign of her amongst the horror fare---on sixteen screens, no less.
So if weird salad HAS to have a place, ‘tis the season. And I know the stuff COULDN’T have been as bad as I remember it---too many nice people made too much of it---gallons and bowls--- and there was probably no Pyrex 9x13 in nine counties that hadn’t cuddled a clumpy thick black sheet of the stuff.
Church Suppers were rampant with it, for a while there---one Second Saturday I counted SEVEN of the glass oblongs on the table, each set down with a flourish and a JUST SO nudge to the angle, so as to appear better and more beautiful than the next. Mission Impossible. And that was out of a total attendance of perhaps forty---had it not been for Miss Bessie Kiihnl and her always-anticipated BIG pot of Chicken and Dumplin’s and Mrs. Kilgore’s huge Magnalite of Spaghetti and Meatballs---well, there woulda been many a stop at the Arby’s drive-through THAT night.
And quite a few Feed-the-Young-Folks-Before-BTU evenings in Fellowship Halls featured little rounds of Styrofoam cushioning a leaf of iceberg with a square of the quivering blackish grue set neatly to the side of the dinner plate. You could tell the kids whose Mamas had Raised Them Right by their merely pushing the block with a tentative poke, then hiding the furtive wipe-of-the-fork on their napkins. The truly unmannered let their EWWWWWs be heard, and a couple with No Raisin’ a-Tall actually uttered, “Not AGAINNN!” for all to hear.
The unfathomable-to-me conglomeration was a mixture of Black Cherry Jello and CANNED Blueberry Pie Fillin’---despite the proliferation of gorgeous blueberry patches and the bounty of the fresh ripe fruit, the recipe CALLED FOR CANNED Lucky Leaf, and the lemming cooks plopped that gluey blue-black clump of sparsely-fruited thickening right into the mix. The whole thing assumed the look and demeanor of the Oil Slick That Ate Tasha Yar.
Time and therapy have dimmed whatever other ingredients went into the dish, but the colors and the texture remain---the flavor kinda between the tang of an old penny and a mouthful of wasp-bitten persimmon ferment, embedded with the too-earthy uuumph of old beets, is forever embedded in memory---a testament to follow-the-leader cookery which has led so many otherwise wonderful cooks astray.
Do not try this at home.