So, if you had to choose–what is the one thing–the dish that means Thanksgiving to your family?
Oh, I don’t mean the Turkey–that’s a given–I mean the thing that makes the meal unlike any other of the year?
We–of course have our most celebrated STUFFING–whose praises we sang last year, and Jenny’s homemade cranberry sauce, but for the past 25 years, we’ve had this interesting fruity Jello that means a lot to us. I realize that most people don’t have Jello for Thanksgiving–let me explain.
Long ago, and not so far away, we used to have Thanksgiving at my parents house…always. Now this was a big deal because my father was a chef–which supremely intimidated my mom so she was not really big on cooking. We ate meals and stuff, but it was never anything fancy or that made a lot of dishes.
Except for Thanksgiving. That was the one day that my mom would go nuts–the turkey, the stuffing the potatoes, the gravy, the pies. Makes me woosey thinking about it. It was just so fun to watch her–this one time of the year, really enjoying herself in the kitchen. In fact, my dad was usually banished to his shop to make his famous “Monkey Bread,” as a consolation for all the other stuff she wouldn’t let him cook. This was her day to shine all by herself.
Being the baby of the family and getting married last in the group, by the time I came to Thanksgiving dinner with my husband, the dishes that mom would let others donate to the meal—Laurie was allowed to bring yams, and Sabrina could bring mashed potatoes—were all doled out. I remember calling and asking, “What can I bring?” and the answer was, “Ahhhhh….I don’t know, we have pretty much everything. Bring whatever you want.”
That first year was particularly lean for us newlyweds so we brought–Jello. When I walked in with it my dad said, “What’s that for–dessert?” Another year, we forgot to put it on the table at all–until the meal was over. Nobody really knew what to do with my dopey Jello…until the year I didn’t bring it. That year, my cute sister acted like she was crushed and that the meal wouldn’t be right without my silly offering.
Hence–ever since that year—our peachy, fruity jello—comes out for Thanksgiving. My kids don’t know this holiday any other way.
you know the rest of the story.
1 large Peach Jello
4 cups water
1 can pineapple chunks
1 can mandarin oranges
1 can peaches cut up
8oz. Cool Whip
Prepare the Jello according to directions. While it’s cooling, pour drained fruit into a large bowl. Add 2/3 of the jello the fruit mixture. Pour the remainder of the Jello into a shallow Pyrex dish. Chill both Jellos until set. Just before serving take out the Pyrex Jello and drag a table knife through it in a checkerboard-type pattern. Scoop Cool Whip into a small bowl. Lift the cut up Jello out and fold it gently into the Cool Whip. Spoon the Jello topping onto the fruity Jello and serve to your guests.
You never know when you’ll be starting a new tradition in your family!