We still congeal things in these parts

I can’t tell you the number of fellow Southerners who still add Knox gelatin to various forms of fruits, vegetables, liquids and pour into either ring molds or individual molds and “refrigerate for several hours” as many a Junior League cookbook advise

Aspics are old as can be

Chaud froid

Actually kept meats from spoiling

Tomato aspic is a highlight, still, during warm months

Its gelatinized cousins make appearances at other meals

My maternal grandmother loved a congealed salad

Having spent a lot of time with that generation, I, too, am in love with a good wobbly concoction often served with a bop of mayonnaise

This week, we will congeal cranberries with pineapple, celery, and pecans

A two day process

It’s one of our favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal

The ring mold, with removable center for an easy salad release, is cleaned and ready to go

There is nothing fashionable, trendy, small batched, artisanal, curated, or farm to table about our cranberry salad

Well, may be the cranberries

We serve this every Thanksgiving instead of the blob out of the can which I have nothing against. We just grew up with this version or ones like it

Same with green bean casserole

Didn’t grow up with it

We don’t make it

A few years ago, a second cousin and I traded our receipts of cranberry goodness with pictures of final products

Captioned messages with

Yes we cran

Cran you dig it


Get it?


Two grown men fighting over who had the better version of congealed cranberry salad

His grandmother, a great aunt of mine, would have giggled herself silly as she often did

I think my version is the best

Especially with that bop of mayo on top

Which is a requirement

One year, we were in the North Carolina mountains for Thanksgiving with an actual blizzard raging outside

Fourteen inches of snow

There was no mayonnaise in the house

So, Thanksgiving morning, I took eggs, salt, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and vegetable oil and beat up homemade mayonnaise

What else did I have to do in a blizzard?

Those assembled loved it

As we have to have that bop of mayo on top

I have dear friend who may read this and be physically ill due to that person’s unmitigated disdain of all things congealed and the whipped fat bop on top

Apologies in advance ATP

However, I cannot imagine Thanksgiving without the following work of art on the sideboard

This version is from 300 Hundred Years of Carolina Cooking (Including Game Preparation) by the Junior League of Greenville, 1970, Greenville, South Carolina

Specifically Miss Nelle Griffin’s receipt as modified by me

Forget the Lime Dressing shown and add that bop o’ mayo

Gobble gobble

Cranberry Salad

2 packs (about 1 quart) fresh cranberries

3/4 c sugar

9 oz crushed pineapple

Juice of 1 orange

Rind of 1 orange, grated

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 c boiling water

2 envelopes Knox gelatin

1 c chopped celery (minced really)

3/4 c chopped pecans

Grind cranberries in food processor until fairly small. Mix cranberries, sugar, and pineapple and refrigerate overnight. Let gelatin soften in orange and lemon juice. Add boiling water to fully dissolve. Add to cranberry mixture with remaining ingredients. Pour into ring mold or individual molds and refrigerate overnight. Serves 8

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