Friday, January 11, 2013

There's Always Room For Jello

That was the slogan introduced by Jello brand in 1962. The idea was that jello was a light dessert that could be consumed, even after a heavy meal.

The first time I heard it was the summer I was 19. I was sheltered, what can I say?

I was cooking at a camp up in Canada. And I had just met the utterer of the slogan, Margaret.

This is Margaret-the lady, not the pig=)

She had arrived in camp the day before. I had heard from the others that she was quite the lady.

That morning I got to see her "Margaret-ness" in action.

Bev, the head honcho, had planned a turkey dinner for the evening meal-complete with turkey, stuffing,  mashed potatoes, rolls, and pie. Oh, and green jello.

I don't know. We were serving somewhere around 30 people, so Bev decided this green jello recipe needed to be quadrupled. And Margaret won loss the toss. It was her privilege to whip together this concoction of lime jello, whipped cream, cream cheese and marshmallow.

Did I mention that the camp we were cooking at was a base camp for a wilderness camp? And that even though it was base camp, it was still many, many miles from civilization? And all our groceries were ordered by radio, and delivered once a week-to the nearest civilization point-about 15 miles away?

So, if we didn't have an ingredient we needed, we had to come up with creative substitutions.

This recipe called for a 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows. We didn't have mini marshmallows. We did have regular size marshmallows though.

And we had scissors.

Margaret started on this quadruple batch of jello, by manually cutting up all the marshmallows into quarters. Only 4 bags. The scissors didn't stick together with accumulated marshmallow-ness, or anything. Snort.

It was probably one of the most hilarious moments of that summer. For me. Watching Margaret cut those marshmallows in a more and more exaggerated way, the deeper she got in. In was a great introduction to all things Margaret.

The water got boiled, the cream cheese and jello and whipped topping and marshmallows all were mixed in. And we ended up with like 2 gallons of jello.

Not bad for 30 people. Everyone gets a cup of jello. Generous proportions.

Except, everyone filled up on turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans. And no one had room for green jello.

We all took a minor dab, which left about 1-1/2 gallons of jello.

But, Margaret, bless her little heart, took it upon herself to show us the way with the clarion call,

"There's always room for jello!!!"

It became her personal mission to finish all that jello before the end of the week. Before she had to go home.

Sometimes we joined her, and sometimes we teased her.

And that tale went down in the annals of my memoirs of Margaret.

Today, in keeping with the spirit of green jello, Margaret, and small kitchen adventures, I will introduce you to a Barefoot Hippie favorite.

It is simply known to us as Marshmallow Jello. Though, the more cultured amongst us may have heard it referred to as Watergate Salad.

This jello has 4 ingredients (none of which are actually jello), and whips up in a jiffy. It makes an appearance at the three main holiday celebrations in our home-Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It can feed a crowd (my mom has been known to quadruple the recipe) or it can feed a smaller group.

Marshmallow Jello
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 box pistachio pudding
1 8 ounce carton of whipped topping
1 10 ounce bag of colored marshmallows

Mix the pudding and pineapple until all the pineapple is green and there is no dry pudding left. Fold in the whipped topping, and then the marshmallows. Refrigerate 4 hours, or until serving.

I probably should not have picked this week to write this story. I am depending on the good humor of my great friend to bring us to the airport next Sunday. And to pick us up the next month.

There's always room for jello, and Barefoot Hippies? Right Margaret?