The past few weeks we’ve been taking a walk down our childhood memory lane of foods from the 1970’s and early 80’s. We reviewed and flipped Pear Salad, Hamburger Helper and Egg Custard Pie. It’s only fitting we add one more to that list and if you guessed Jell-O from our Wednesday tease, you win!
I’m not sure when, but Tupperware came out with a mold set that every woman just had to have. I can remember having to tag along to wedding showers, baby showers, church potlucks, etc. and seeing the mint green color of a Jell-O mold sitting among the salads. Apparently lime Jell-O mixed with Cool-Whip, pistachios and pineapple was a big deal. I can honestly say I never ate any as it was just too odd looking for my youthful self. I can also say that my own Mom never made it either. I do remember her having the mold set but I don’t recall her ever using it for Jell-O. I think it finally got designated to the back of the cabinet and eventually was a container for leftovers.
During the early 80’s I was a teen-ager dealing with cancer. Due to chemo and an abundance of routine tests, I ate my share of Jell-O. In fact, I ate it so much until I designated it “sick food”….you know, like chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers and Sprite. I still pretty much consider it “sick food” so no Jell-O molds will be remade here. (I bet you thought that was where this was leading, didn’t you? Go on…fess up!)
The ONLY Jell-O ANYTHING I ever remember Mom making was around the holidays – Coca Cola Salad. Cherry or strawberry Jell-O with Coke, pecans, finely chopped celery, cherries, pineapple and tiny bits of cream cheese was how it went. It would be served on a bed of lettuce and was a fairly nice compliment to the turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving or before our customary shrimp gumbo at Christmas. Over the years as our family gatherings got smaller, Mom stopped making it. I can honestly say I’ve never made it as an adult. SO…in thinking that Jell-O needed adding to our little flashback series, I knew that it was the recipe to focus on.
Given Cas hates celery, I immediately nixed it from the recipe. I also thought using cherry pie filling over canned Bing cherries would be a good idea. I also moved the cream cheese from inside the salad to the top. I also used black cherry flavored Jell-O instead of regular cherry. I think it has a deeper flavor. Coca Cola, pineapple and pecans remained intact.
The outcome was pretty great. It was extremely easy to mix up and the most time was spent on waiting for the gelatin part to congeal. Beyond that it was a breeze. I hope you’ll give it a go next time you need a little something extra before your main course.
The Recipe: Coca-Cola Salad Revisited
1 can cherry pie filling
½ cup water
1 large package of dark cherry gelatin (or 2 small)
1 can of pineapple chunks, not drained
1 can Coca-Cola (12 oz.)
½ cup chopped pecans
1 tub of chilled whipped topping
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- Boil the pie filling and water. Remove from heat and add the gelatin. Stir until mixed. Add the pineapple with its juice and the Coca-Cola. Stir in the nuts and pour into glass dessert cups or glass bowl – chill until set.
- Once salad is congealed, mix together whipped topping and cream cheese. Spread on top of salad.