A dash of this and a dash of that! Hah! What a joke. Even with a very specific recipe, there’s a better than 70% chance the dish won’t be edible. This is one of those stories.
It all started one bright and sunny, okay “hot,” Thanksgiving in Southern California. You might say ended, but that would be getting ahead of the story.
Most families have their traditional holiday meals, and mine was no exception. Southern cooking—oh yeah. I dream of the shreds of ham hock floating in a sea of collard greens. candied yams, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. “Yum” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I don’t need a recipe to cook Southern. I can cook Southern blindfolded. It comes natural, even after having been away from the South for 40 years.
This year I decided to add a little variety and make a staple of many other families—cranberry gelatin mold.
My girlfriend assured me this was a “never fail” recipe, even for me. Right! “There’re only five ingredients, and one of them is water. Basically two steps. You can do it!” I can do this. I envisioned this beautiful, red cranberry mold sitting in the center of the table—decorative and delicious!
I followed the simple directions to the letter; I didn’t miss a single one. Hope springs eternal, right?
Everyone is milling around the kitchen, setting the table, finding serving utensils and checking to see if anything is forgotten.
“Oh, I made jello mold,” I announced triumphantly. I slid it gingerly from the fridge. The platter was ready. This was such an unusual event—by that I meant me cooking something new. Does jello mold count as cooking? Not sure, but anyway. Everyone was watching as I deftly inverted the mold on the platter. I gave the mold a little shake, just to make sure it was loose. I began to remove the mold.
It was obvious immediately—this was not going well. There was a pink, primordial like ooze seeping from beneath the mold. Should I lift it off more? I had no choice. The mold was free and so was the jello ooze. There are no words to describe the hideous, unappetizing goop on the platter. My son was laughing uncontrollably. Everyone else was smiling with a few snickers, but for the most part polite. But this was not the first cooking debacle my son had witnessed.
He grabbed his phone. “I’ve got to post a picture of this on FaceBook!”
“No! No!” I lunged for him and his phone. He’s got a good six inches on me, but my daughter-in-law in a sympathetic moment, grabbed the phone from behind. I sighed.
I mean really, it’s November in the desert and still hot! Anything could melt, right?