Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Pinterest photo---all I've ever seen was served naked.   It loses some of its terror when cloaked in KoolWhip and pecans.

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, if weird salad HAS to have a place, ‘tis the season. The ubiquitous side dish was a great fad of the seventies, 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 pot 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.   I kinda wonder if all those polite kids' tendency to clear their own plates, dumping the entire square into the capacious black-bagged cans standing handy, so that the cooks did not know of the waste---it is to be hoped that it was that, and not a secret plan by the Church Ladies to fool the NEXT batch of hostesses into making the same mistake, that kept whole broods of Mamas perpetuating the error.

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.


GSL said...

I'm going to leave all the kitchen talk to the womenfolk after I help myself to a heapin' helpin' of Miss Bessie's Chicken & Dumplins and watch the ballgame.

Bev said...

Sounds incredibly gross. I remember the jello molds and heard the stories but was able to escape the horrors!

Jeanne said...

Oh Rachel, I have never tasted this awful sounding pairing of jello and blueberry pie filling. I do think it would not go over with my bunch. HA! I truly do not like grape 'flavored' anything. The real thing, I like very much. Yummy grapes. I have to tell you I forgot to buy grapes for our traditional fruit salad passed down from the elders. I remember picking up the grapes at the store and I must have put them back. It was a bit early to buy them...my mind must have said. No one complained about the fruit salad so I said nary a word. :)

Blessings and love to you and yours dear Rachel.
Love, Jeanne

Kim S. said...

This gave me a big giggle. Mike’s stepmom does a similar looking salad with raspberry jello, blueberry pie filling, crushed pineapple, cream cheese, sour cream and coconut. It is scary looking, but delicious. But then, I am a fool for any sweet congealed salad. And you mention Magnalite. Oh, how a covet a set of Magnalite. They sell pots that look very much like them in the Latino section of Food Lion, though without that magnificent shine, and I always am tempted. They are ridiculously cheap.