Unlike the esteemed and older-than-I-thought Twistie, Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday.
In fact, until I checked the comments here, I had no idea it was just a few weeks away. I am, at the moment, sitting on the terraza of Villa Plumcake overlooking the Pacific, drinking pineapple juice and watching the solitary surfer in
hopes case he gets attacked by a shark (what? Shark Week was months ago and now I’m bored. That doesn’t make me a bad person.) which makes it difficult to think of turkeys and casseroles and poorly-dressed yankees who couldn’t find their way to a proper place like Virginia and probably weren’t even Episcopalians to begin with.
However, this upcoming Thanksgiving will be my last one in the US for at least a few years so I am getting uncharacteristically sentimental, especially because it’s my first Thanksgiving without my grandparents who raised me, as they both died in December of last year.
That brings us to Moldy Salad.
Moldy salad made its appearance twice a year: Christmas and Thanksgiving. It was a…festive…gelatin-based creation, consisting of layers of a white Cool Whip/gelatin/cream cheese concoction and a red-flavored Jell-O one into which canned cherries had been lovingly incorporated. My grandmother set this in an avocado green aluminum bundt mold that will probably give us all early-onset Alzheimer’s, and served it sliced on a single leaf of–you guessed it– iceberg lettuce. The overall effect was as if someone served us a bisected wedge of the Wicked Witch leg, and I’m not sure it tasted much better.
So now here’s the question:
My grandmother, whose qualities were otherwise countless (depending on how high you could count) could not cook to save her life. She didn’t like food, she didn’t like cooking and she didn’t like eating. Still, if there was a dish for which she was familially famous, it was Moldy Salad.
I am now in possession of the old bundt mold and am halfway tempted to try to recreate the recipe as a sort of homage to my grandmother for my last Thanksgiving with my relatives.
Do I try to recreate her authentic recipe? Make a more posh (as in, actually made of food recognized as such in nature or at least by the FDA) version? Skip it altogether and let its memory stay jiggly but unsullied? I don’t eat Jell-O in any shape or form (long stay in the hospital when I was but a wee bairn) but it might be nice to do for the fam.
Suggestions? Recipes? Hideous family dishes you’ve known and loved? Put it in the comments!