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Does Jell-o have the salad nature?

Having read Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s paean to Jell-o salads, I am struck with the awe-inspiring realization that I am an actual ethnic person, because the only place I ever encountered Jell-o in my childhood was as a dessert. I see Jell-o salads from time to time here at work when there’s a potluck lunch of some kind, and they always look out of place to me. As far as I’m concerned, if there isn’t vinegar involved, it ain’t salad.

Growing up where the dominant cuisine was Italian*, our family recipes are a bit more spicy, though by no means any healthier (see the ingredient list for Easter Bread in this post I wrote after my grandmother died for a prime example). On the other side of the family, my cousin Maureen solicited a bunch of recipies from various relatives for a cookbook that she put together as a wedding favor. I need to hunt one of them down to see if there are any deep, dark Jell-o secrets lurking out there.

Thanks to Karin for pointing this out to me.

* – My Irish father, who loves garlic more than my delicate-stomached mother does, was quickly adopted as an honorary paisan by Mom’s aunts once they discovered how big his appetite was for their cooking. This is a fairly universal way to get in good with one’s in-laws, and a lesson I learned well (it helps that my own mother-in-law is an excellent cook).

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3 Comments

  1. William Hughes says:

    I don’t think Jell-o salad is as much ethnic as it is regional. In New York, if a rabbit won’t eat it , it ain’t salad.

    I tend to prefer extermely spicy foods. My family calls me “The Human Flame Thrower” for the amount of spicy ingredients I will put into my cooking. I think that’s also a New York thing.

  2. Charles, you’ve got a grandmother named Ann Carasaniti Abbruzza Visco, but you didn’t think of yourself as ethnic?

    Wm. Hughes, that’s not a New York thing. When my Mormon grandparents were in their 70s, their daily routine called for scrambled eggs with chopped jalapenos for breakfast, grilled jalapeno-and-cheese sandwiches for lunch, and then for dinner they’d either go out for Mexican food, or they’d stay at home and cook something with jalapenos in it.

  3. Teresa, what can I say? I didn’t feel ethnic growing up. Maybe I’m just retroactively ethnic. Yeah, that’s it…