Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Search for Red Hots

Easter is always a great food celebration and this year was no exception.  My friends and I play the what do I make game and this year when it was my turn, the spinner landed on Jello.  Oh, I mean congealed salad as it’s known in the South (my nose crinkles disapprovingly when I hear that term, but that is another post).

So, I needed to figure out what kind of Jello to make. To truly appreciate what this means, you may have to be from the Midwest AKA the land of Jello. Church dinners, school potlucks, funeral luncheons and family reunions all feature tables of Jellos. There are sweet dessert Jellos, veggie filled salad Jellos and those that come in multiple layers that make categorization difficult.

When I taught at a charter school, we ended the year with a bring food of your ethnic background, so to be a smart aleck,  I went home and got out my Iowa church cookbooks and found the perfect Jello — strawberry pretzel salad. I am a bit confused, but proud to say that my salad won the award for best dessert. But I digress.

I had a request for the red hots jello salad. While I had heard of it, I had never had it and had no clue how to make it. So, I got out the church cookbooks and did some reading. The recipe was there: Melt red hots in water, add raspberry Jello and apple sauce. Well, it’s easy enough. But, just in case I didn’t like it, I kept reading. There it was, an old holiday family favorite, Orange Fluff.  A short grocery list formed and I went out to hunt red hots.

First grocery store…not a red hot in the candy aisle.  Clerk looked at me like what’s a red hot? Off to the corner pharmacy with the aisle of jumbo boxes of movie candy. Surely there would be a box or two there. Nope. This clerk said that they get red hots only at Valentine’s Day. He suggested the baking aisle of the grocery store. So, off to the next grocery store. Score! Tiny bottles of red hots next to the chocolate sprinkles and colored sugars. I picked up three and went home to cook.

The salads turned out great. I was delighted to have orange fluff again and my friends loved the cinnamon apple Jello. At least that is my interpretation of  “It tastes like Christmas!”