I wouldn’t say I like Jell-O. But, this is a bold statement — so brash that it threatens to hazard my Midwestern, farm woman credentials.
But it’s authentic. I nearly continually pass up the Jell-O at picnics and potlucks, even when it has been combined with flawlessly desirable meals like cake. That’s peculiar because I grew up with the stuff. The shimmering, laboratory-rendered goodness of Jell-O fused with Cool Whip fashioned the gelatinous spine of many summertime desserts in my formative years. My mother had whole basement cupboards committed to Jell-O, and we kids were often dispatched downstairs to fetch boxes for layered desserts, “poke” desserts, or parfaits.
But over time, I fell out of like with the stuff. Some of this disenchantment could be connected to my family’s long obsession with weight-reduction plan. Thanks to Jell-O’s otherworldly, nutrition-loose composition, it becomes often marketed as an appropriate eating regimen meal. My mom belonged to the earliest and most rigorous version of Weight Watchers, which supposed we were frequently exposed to gelatin-laced atrocities like “Lime Fluff,” “Chilled Celery Log,” and “Jellied Tomato Refresher.”
Her Jell-O pantry usually contained several boxes of the “diet” Jell-O, D-Zeta, which turned into sweetened with saccharine and became about as pleasant as swallowing an ice dice. Even as a child, I couldn’t purchase those D-Zerta commercials that showed ‘70s homemakers happily passing up fancy desserts at their children’s birthday events so they could tuck into a few succulent translucent squares of artificially flavored hooves rather.
Recently, however, I changed into reminded of 1 Jell-O dessert that I, without a doubt, appreciated. It becomes a lemon-pineapple dessert topped with a tangy-candy whipped layer and, oddly enough, cheese. Mom made this Jell-O dessert for almost every potluck, picnic, or special event for years. But, unfortunately, we all reached Lemon Jell-O burnout at some factor, which means that we haven’t eaten it in decades.
But when brainstorming approximately our own family’s summertime staples, I all at once remembered this iconic dessert, in which the fruity, citrusy gelatin pairs up seamlessly with a mild, tangy custard-whipped cream topping and sharp cheddar cheese. So I determined it had to be dusted off and shared.
So I referred to Mom to search for the recipe in her recipe box (that’s greater like a recipe “drawer,” measuring at the least a foot deep and full of hundreds of proper recipes). She located the recipe, but the ink had dwindled so badly that she couldn’t decipher it.
I resorted to finding the concoction online and discovered various variations referred to as the whole lot, from Sawdust Salad to Lemon Jell-O-Cream Cheese Salad. I subsequently settled on this model. Although it’s far garnished with walnuts in place of cheese and doesn’t comprise sliced bananas like Mom’s recipe did, it appears pretty near.
Like many Jell-O fruit salads, you can switch out culmination in line with family choices. One essential note: Do NOT use clean pineapple, as it consists of enzymes to keep the gelatin from setting up.
Incidentally, I’m satisfied to document that she decided it changed into time to deliver the dessert out of retirement after Mom became reminded of it. My sisters are traveling from Florida subsequent week, and I expect to find this pretty and clean dessert served at more than one food. Let’s wish she by no means unearths the recipe for the Chilled Celery Log.