All of us think our Grandmother is the bomb BUT I KNOW mine is.
Or was as the case may be. A few of you know this story.
My Grandma Hobbs was one of the finest cooks I have ever had the pleasure to know. I swear she could take a bag of breadcrumbs, some old bologna and a couple of eggs and whip up a meal fit for a king. I don’t know if it was the wooden spoons she used or the ever present salt shaker but anything coming out of her kitchen was immediately devoured by anyone present as though they were starving.
Grandma had THE TOUCH. Whether it was turkey, gravy or mashed potatoes, none of us had ever had finer. But none of that compared to Grandma’s Green Jello.
Have you ever seen a cat’s head swivel when a cat food container is opened? Or a child jump up and down when they hear the ice cream man? My grandma had them beat.
Kid’s acting up?
She’s got it!
TV too loud.
Mom and an Aunt sniping at each other?
Stopped in it’s tracks!
Grandma’s secret weapon? All that she would have to do it to crack open a big Tupperware container and everything STOPPED! And not just any Tupperware container. This one contained her own special ambrosia.
Grandma’s Green Jello!
We were never quite sure what all was in it.
Lime Jello? Certainly.
Cool Whip? Oh, yeah.
But that’s when it gets a little murky.
Shredded carrots? Um, I think.
Cottage cheese? Maybe…
The way our family devoured it the secret ingredient had to be opium. I mean, seriously, we went through that container like locusts. AND the other five she always made on top of it.
I have no greater food memory than sitting on my Grandma’s couch bloated and moaning from green jello.
When Grandma died, we all tried to recreate her special green jello but it was never the same. Grandma didn’t make it.
I miss her still…
So, a couple of years ago, I decided to make Grandma’s Green Jello to take home for Thanksgiving.
I boiled up the lime gelatin and started it to set. So far so good.
Grandma always added pineapple so so did I. I opened the can, cubed the rings and added it to the mix as it started to congeal.
Then, the cherries. Nature knows no red quite as bright as a jar of maraschino cherries. Those who remember Red Dye No. 2 know what I mean.
I shredded a couple of carrots and lightly blanched them and added them to the mass. I picked sweet carrots for just the right texture and flavor.
Finally, Grandma always added a secret ingredient to her green jello. She always added a little small curd cottage cheese to the mix to add some texture so I added about half a pint to the mix.
That is about the time this really went south.
It just wouldn’t congeal. It had the consistency of a warm loogy and the color as well. I even placed it in the freezer to get it to firm up and nothing happened.
What I didn’t know then is that pineapple juice contains a chemical that keeps gelatin from congealing. I know it now.
Finally, after six hours in the fridge, it was ready to try. I asked my husband to try a bite so he could tell me what it needed. The look on his face said it all.
“This is nothing short of absolutely disgusting!” he said while spitting it out.
I knew better! I grabbed a huge spoonful and shoved it in my mouth and started to chew and –
-started coughing and spitting that nasty shit out!
It was many things but my Grandma’s Green Jello it was not! Wallpaper paste – maybe but definitely not the taste I remember.
It looked like something that had climbed out of a bad 50’s science fiction film.
We bought a pie at Ralph’s to take with us while that concoction stayed at home and plotted.
By the time we got home, some sort of chemical reaction had taken place and it was as hard as a rock.
I had to chisel it out of the pot.
NOW LET’S DO IT RIGHT:
Lime gelatin, 6 oz.
Sugar, 1 1/2 cup
Hot Water, 2 cups
Cold Water, 2 cups
Cream Cheese, 4 oz.
Pineapple, 8 oz.
Carrots, sweet, two
Cherries, four ounces, drained and pitted.
Whipping cream, 1 quart
Vanilla, 1 tsp.
Pecans, candied, 4 oz.
Place the gelatin in a large bowl and add the hot water. Stir well. Add the cold water and keep stirring.
Place in the refrigerator.
Wait 30 minutes until it begins to thicken and then fold in the cream cheese.
While you are waiting, cube the pineapple and place it in a colander to drain.
Clean and shred the carrots. Shred then finely and you want about four ounces once done. Blanch lightly in hot water to soften but not to remove the flavor.
Fold in the cherries, carrots and pineapples and place in the refrigerator.
Mix the cream and the vanilla in a mixing bowl and whip until fluffy. Add a little sugar if you wish.
Top the gelatin mixture with a thick layer of whipped cream. Sprinkle with candied pecans and cover. Refrigerate thoroughly.
COPYRIGHT 2016 Micheal J. Hobbs