Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Jello Salad

My home life as a child was not a happy one. My happiness came at school. However, one positive thing stands out when I think of Thanksgiving dinner (Christmas too), and it is my mom's green jello salad--lime flavored jello with fruit cocktail mixed in it. Most of you have probably had it at least once, haven't you? I loved it when I was a child. My mom died when I was 18, and the green jello salad was a thing of memory until I had my children.

Like most parents, I wanted to create happy traditions for my children, but I was tradition challenged from my childhood and had to figure out, through trial and error, how each holiday should be celebrated. When you think about it, traditions seem to evolve almost on their own, which is why each family's traditions differ from every other family. But, we often bring something treasured from our past to our new family life, don't we, and I brought green jello salad.

What I find fascinating is that my own grown children want me to make green jello salad for every Thanksgiving and Christmas. From childhood, they embraced jello salad as one of our traditions, and they won't hear of not having it, even though no one eats that much of it. I like to think of green jello salad as a link going back to my mom, the grandma they never knew, and I have a feeling that one or the other of my children will be making it for the family gathering long after I'm gone. Green jello salad--such a simple thing linking the generations.

So, with all the love in my heart for my children, I just finished making this Thanksgiving's jello salad, keeping our tradition, our link to the past and the future, going for another holiday.

I look forward to hearing about one of your family's traditions.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Kate

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17 comments:

  1. It's funny because my family does not seem to have many traditions but I think my siblings and I are trying. That's how I ended up still making pumpkin pie, though I knew neither you nor Gavin like pumpkin pie. He told me once last year. I enjoyed your green jello salad :)

    ~Michelle

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  2. Kathy,Jim and I were just discussing your entry of 11/25/11 and he too, said he always remembered his mom's green jello salad. I told him that I never liked any jello that was not red. My gramma (my mom's mother) used to make a jello mold for family get-togethers (she was an awful cook)and she'd use cherry or strawberry jello, and add peaches, pears, cranberries, and grapes to it. I was always in awe of how she could get the jello to neatly come out of the mold when she turned it upside down!
    I think one of the traditional "foods" that I've made ever since my dad passed away in '97, was the turkey dressing. My sisters always say that I "channel" my dad's so-called recipe, as I helped him make it when I was growing up. This Thanksgiving, in deference to Jim, I decided to make cornbread dressing instead of the regular bread-based stuff. I used the same herbs, and Jim and I gave it a generous dose of sage. It was so yummy! But my one sister who came to my mom's for dinner complained that I "didn't make Dad's dressing"! Jim and I just grinned. I wondered if my dad would've approved. Given his South-Georgia roots, I think he would've approved! Next: I'm going to make a green jello salad for Jim at Christmas.
    Susie

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