Sunday, October 27, 2013

Party Pork Crown

Party Pork Crown
contributed by Mrs. Allie C. Woodcock, New Orleans, La.
Favorite Recipes of America: Salads, page 169
My most ambitious project to date - not only because of the challenge of getting one particular ingredient past Dr. Husband's discriminating palate, but also because another key ingredient hasn't existed for fifty years.

I've been sitting on his recipe for a while, precisely because it calls for celery flavored Jell-O. As mentioned before, Jell-O did briefly flirt with the idea of savory flavors (celery, Italian salad, seasoned tomato, and mixd vegetable) but apparently, the idea didn't catch on so well. Or did it?  Because here, in Favorite Recipes of America, we find a recipe, apparently a FAVORITE,  calling for celery flavor!

The recipe, as it was printed in 1968:

1 3-oz. package celery flavored gelatin
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. cold water
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1 12-oz. can pork luncheon meat, diced
1 89-oz. can peas, drained
Romaine leaves

Dissolve gelatin in hot water; stir in cold water and vinegar. Beat in mayonnaise, mustard and salt; pour into shallow pan. Freeze for 20 minutes. Spoon into medium bowl; beat until light. Fold in meat and peas; spoon into 4-cup ring mold. Chill until firm. Unmold onto serving plate; garnish with romaine leaves. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Also, let's address the elephant in the room: "pork luncheon meat" can mean nothing but Spam™, 'miright?

Spam™, as anyone reading this blog will certainly already know, is "ground pork shoulder and ground ham combined with salt, sugar, water, and sodium nitrate, stuffed into a can, sealed, cooked, dried, dated, and shipped...It needs no refrigeration. It will keep in its can until the end of time." (My facts and figures come from Jane and Michael Stern's Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, long out of print but well worth the ONE CENT that a used paperback copy on Amazon will cost you.) It was a staple for the Allies in wartime, and in fact Nikita Kruschev credited it with saving the Russian army from starvation.

As you'll see in the tasting video, I made up my own claim that Spam™was the most popular food in Korea; further research reveals that I may not have been so far off the mark. If anyone has any further clarification on that matter, be sure and let me know!

The bigger issue was how to replicate the celery Jell-O™... so here goes. I boiled some celery for a few minutes, then strained that water and used it for the 1 cup hot water in the recipe. Then in place of the called-for salt, I used celery salt. If you're tempted to duplicate the recipe at home, I will warn you that the celery salt will not dissolve AT ALL. It ends up as a kind of grit that settles in the bottom of the mold (what will be the top when you unmold it.)

Everything else came together easily, leaving me only with the dread of feeding Dr. Husband Spam™, which he's promised would be a five-scream offense. But, to my surprise...

Our Rating: Two Screaming Husbands!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)

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