As everyone knows, the traditional Thanksgiving menu is full of food that tends to be, to put it mildly, filling. Supposedly, turkey is rich in tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a calming or sleep-inducing effect. Let’s blame all our postprandial lethargy on turkey with a particularly high level of tryptophan. Forget the mashed potatoes and gravy, next to the dressing and gravy, next to the sweet potatoes, next to the green peas, next to the roasted winter vegetables. It’s the turkey that makes us crave a nap. Wake me in time for a piece of pie. Or two.
All the carbs served the fourth Thursday each November, scream for the accompaniment of another taste, something tangy, and a little sweet to offset the heaviness of the rest of the meal. I suppose that is one reason that cranberry sauce appears on most tables, either as the whole fruit or in that ridged perfect cylinder, straight from the Ocean Spray can. I can take it or leave it that way – I’m no big fan. However, I like to prepare it the a little differently than most people do.
Turn the kettle on, boil some water. It’s jello time. Don’t turn your nose up at jello. It gets taken for granted oftentimes. Perhaps it was overused in decades past and I myself rarely use it. In this instance, however, it combines with cranberry sauce and frozen strawberries to make a salad that is easily prepared a day ahead, is very pretty, and supplies the contrast in taste that Thanksgiving dishes call for. It also is good at Christmas time.
STRAWBERRY CRANBERRY SALAD
2 small packages or 1 large package of strawberry jello
2 c. boiling water
1-10 oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed
1 can cranberry sauce, jellied, not whole berries
Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add strawberries and cranberry sauce. Mix well. Put into a mold or a 9 X 9 pan and refrigerate until well set. Unmold or cut into squares and serve.