Saturday, October 4, 2008

Milwaukee Ward Relief Society Cookbook; Sister Miller's Black Cherry Jello

Chefly Husband was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, so it comes as no surprise to find a Milwaukee cookbook or three on our shelves. I'd asked some readers what kind of cookbook to feature this week, and both "seasonal" and "neighborhood" were asked for. Here's hoping this fits the bill.

The Milwaukee Ward Relief Society Cookbook was published in 1980, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (better known in some circles as the Mormons). The Relief Society (a major woman's organization within the church) of the Milwaukee Ward compiled favorite recipes, aphorisms, and household hints, and sold them in a comb-spined book with laminated light blue covers. Odds of you finding this cookbook? Slim. But, oh, it's a good one for a sense of time, place, and culture!

Let's kick the week off with that cross-denominational favorite: the molded salad.
Sister Miller's Black Cherry Jello
Joyce Miller

1 (6 oz.) pkg. black cherry Jello
1 (3 oz.) pkg. black cherry Jello
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 can black cherries (pitted)
1 c. chopped walnuts

Set Jello as directed until firm. Whip cream cheese (room temperature) with juice from black cherries until creamy. Then whip into Jello. Put in cherries and walnutes and mix and then put back in refrigerator until firm.

This sounds like it would be very pretty. Not as pretty as Aunt Pauline's stained glass Jell-o that I remember from childhood (There were layers of white Jell-o between all the colors! So pretty. So many layers.).

Pretty, yes, and steering entirely clear of the questionable Jell-o/fruit/veg/meat combinations that lurk in our collective memory and more than a few of the cookbooks we've yet to cover. This will end up with a mostly homogenous texture, and should be opaque, thanks to the cream cheese. It shouldn't make anyone think "ew."

Say I have expectations set far too low; I'm okay with that when it comes to the world of molded salads.

I wonder what it is about church groups and Jell-o...

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