Dear Dr. Julie-Ann
Now that my parents have FINALLY downsized and moved to a retirement community, I FINALLY get to host the holiday dinners at my house. I am really looking forward to creating an old-fashioned holiday meal filled with family favorites.
My father often talks about a Jell-O salad—and we shall use that word loosely—that had cream cheese that his mother used to make in the 1950s and 60s. I would like to surprise him and make something similar.
Do you have any suggestions?
FINALLY Setting Up the Grown-Up Table
Hosting old-fashioned holiday dinners is one of my favorite things to do! And, I think I have just the recipe for you that will make your father happy: my grandmother’s vintage Christmas Jell-O salad with cream cheese. This salad is such a family favorite that I’m required to make it for every family gathering (I just change the flavors of the Jell-O I use when I make it at other times of the year).
I remember my grandmother making this Christmas Jell-O salad when I was growing up in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, she developed cancer and wasn’t able to do much cooking beginning in the early 1970’s. I thought the recipe was gone forever. You can imagine my delight when I discovered it was one of her submissions for a mimeographed cookbook created by her missionary circle in the mid-1960s.
You will find a lot of variations in vintage Christmas Jell-O salad recipes. I like this one because it is so very easy to make and only requires about four hours of set-up time between each layer.
Tips for Better Results
Pro-tip #1: If you let a Jell-O layer get too hard, the next layer will slide off of it.”] Unfortunately, I know this from my first attempt at making the salad. Since I have a big family, I used a cake pan as a mold. I proudly put my beautifully layered Christmas Jell-O salad on the table. Everyone complimented me on it and then we watched my top red-layer split down the middle in slow motion and slide right off. In our family lore, it will forever be known as “the parting of the Red Sea.”
Pro-tip #2: Use only about half the amount of cold water called for in the Jell-O instructions if you plan to use a mold.
Pro-tip #3: Before unmolding your salad, place it in hot water for a few seconds to help release it from the mold. Trust me on this. To see what happens when you don’t, just watch my video demonstration, below.
To show you just how easy it is to make this vintage Christmas Jello Salad with cream cheese, I’ve created a short YouTube video that demonstrates me making it. Here is the link to a 3×5 recipe card that I made: Grandma’s Cream Cheese Jello Salad Recipe 3×5 card
Do you have a favorite Jell•O salad that is a “must have” at your family gatherings? Share the details in the comments, below.
Until next time, have a fabulous Technicolor day!
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