Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mills Family Salad

Pond Ice
Jello in Cherry Juice
Mills Tradition
Prepping the Fruit
The Mixture
It's Tuesday. The pond is frozen and Bobo skitters across the ice in an excited sprint. The "Fluffy Boys" have arrived from Missoula, Montana--Ilya and Jasper, the husky-mixes belonging to my daughter Allison and her husband Drew. My house comes alive with presence and I am grateful for it.

No matter how full or sparse our home at Thanksgiving, we always have Mills Family Salad. It's a traditional moment for us filled with memories. Kids in the kitchen, helping drain maraschino cherries so they can snitch one, or two, or three. Husband dicing canned apricots and slicing grapes in half, eating one grape for every three he halves. Mixing, whisking, folding, pouring.

There's just a tad too much to fit in the old mint-green Tupperware mold. That goes into a recycled sour cream container, hidden in the freezer. Several years ago, Brianna discovered what had always been the parental stash. Do mergansers hide away frog legs or fish tails?

The salad is a frozen jello dessert. It's unique combination of ingredients makes a tangy-sweet concoction. It is best made in advanced because of the numerous steps involved. From my freezer, to yours, here is our traditional recipe shared.

Mills Family Salad
1 large package of jello (cherry or raspberry)
1/2 cup maraschino cherry juice
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup Best (Hellman's) mayo
1 cup maraschino cherries, halved
2 cups diced apricots (1 can)
2 cups crushed pineapple (1 can)
2 cups red grapes, halved

Soften jello in cherry juice over double boiler. Add juice and sugar. Chill until mixture gels into syrup (not too long; usually I chop fruit while it is in the frig). Whip cream with syrup. Fold mayo into the cream. Fold fruit into the mixture. Spoon into mold or 13 x 8-inch glass pan. Freeze. Remove from freezer 2 hours before serving.

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