When it comes to comfort food, June may be the last month you think of.
But I would say that given the year we're all in, comfort food is perfectly appropriate. I'm going to an outdoor pitch-in tonight with a salad-supper theme. My church life group, the Midlife Moms, or MLMs for short, are having our first in-person meeting since early March.
I wanted to make something special for the occasion and thought of a 1970s classic, a Jell-O dish that is more dessert than salad, Strawberry Pretzel Salad.
I had been given the recipe in 1978 as a wedding or shower gift along with a piece of (if memory serves) yellow Tupperware. I feel sure you can find it on allrecipes.com or some other online site. I haven't made the dish in probably two decades -- or longer.
As an empty nester, my cooking these days is generally simple, and gravitates to recipes I could make in the dark. What I realized as I prepared to make this one is that it was a different time in the 1970s. First of all, when was the last time you found a recent recipe for something with Jell-O? There are three different steps involved with this recipe which involve a lot of bowls, an electric mixer, an oven, a fridge and a grocery cart full of ingredients.
I decided to gather what I needed in a separate trip to the grocery store one night after work. It's interesting how ingredients for this jewel come from a lot of different aisles. Canned goods: pineapple; Frozen foods: strawberries and Cool Whip; dairy: butter and cream cheese; Snacks: pretzels; Baking: sugar, and from another place (I don't remember the aisle for it): Jell-O.
My recipe said it's better made a day ahead so I got started yesterday and it's a good thing because I spilled the cup of pineapple juice I had set aside. So off to the store I went for another can of pineapple! (It was cheaper than a can of pineapple juice which we would never drink otherwise).
So yeah, a good thing I started a day early. Right now, the dish is chilling out and I hope my crew enjoys it tonight.
Brian and I got to talking about '70s dishes and he said he always liked that salad with lots of layers. I knew exactly what he was talking about: Seven-Layer Salad. On our regular grocery-store trip, also yesterday (the one before the one needed after I spilled the pineapple juice), we gathered the goods for that: cauliflower, green onions, Romaine lettuce, bacon, frozen peas and grated cheddar cheese. I told him the dressing makes it and I could lighten up the mayo-sugar combo it calls for. He said no, he'd rather have our Light Ranch.
I made it after I did the strawberry dish and we both loved it. This dish, too, requires a lot of ingredients. I think for the two recipes alone, you can expect a pretty full grocery cart.
Not dishes I would make every day. But that's OK. Sometimes a food trip to the '70s is refreshing, as are both these beauties.
What would be on YOUR list for a summer comfort food?