Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Well, I never!"

We Frugal Poets  normally divide our blogging duties such that one of us posts a personal recipe and poem each week.  Curtis graciously offered to write for two consecutive weeks when I needed to help one of my daughters move last weekend.  I certainly appreciate his willingness to help me out about a mouse playing while a cat’s away!

I never would have encouraged anyone to use canned biscuits in a recipe, but that’s precisely what Curtis did in last week’s Frugal Poet post.  Now I realize that many of us take shortcuts  when cooking but certain substitutions constitute no less than cheating in my book.  Rather than pick that recipe apart here, I’ll just suggest that any non-lazy person interested in a real dumpling refer to an earlier Frugal Poet post for a bona fide biscuit.  Dumplings are biscuits...just smaller and formed by hand.  If you’re looking for a chicken and pastry recipe...well, I guess I could help you but I simply won’t.  That’s a recipe from a different part of the state where they just don’t know any better.

I imagine that Curtis’ crock pot chicken and dumpling recipe will work fine enough in a pinch - we all deal with hectic schedules at one time or another.  But his substituting canned biscuits for handmade dumplings compelled me to think of other recipes which, while tasty and some even carved into regional culinary stone, were merely quick fixes to the problem of needing to put something on a table when the cook had little to no time to properly address a dish.  After reading Curtis’ post from last week, the first thing that came to mind was a recipe for a congealed salad that I’ve been served more times than I’d like to count but which I ate every single time.  I even asked someone for their recipe (sorry, but I can’t remember who to credit here.  I hope no one’s offended but, truthfully, I’ve had several versions of the same dish just the Jello changed colors - and you don’t want to get me started on the issue of food preservatives and dyes).  I even included this recipe in a handwritten cookbook I made for my daughters.  What you’ll read is precisely as written in their personal copies...just I’ve changed a name and omitted a few adjectives to protect the guilty.

Blueberry Congealed Salad

“Yes, I’m including this recipe since it reminds me of my childhood, my aunt Midge, and [the potluck dinners after] church revivals that I thought would never end.  It probably contains enough preservatives for you to set it afloat on the Atlantic in a piece of Tupperware, and it would arrive in England in pristine condition years later.  Don’t ever tell anyone where you got this recipe, or I’ll brand you a liar and a cheat.”

2 small boxes black cherry Jello
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup chopped pecans
1 14-1/2 ounce can blueberries, drained
3 medium bananas (too bad these don’t come canned too)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
1 8-ounce carton sour cream
¼ cup white sugar

Mix Jello according to package directions.  Fold in pineapple, pecans, blueberries and sliced bananas.  Pour into casserole dish and refrigerate.  When Jello has become firm, mix cream cheese, sour cream and sugar - spread on top of Jello.

And, finally, a senryu for your enjoyment...

what he says
what you hear -
funhouse mirrors

Prune Juice, Issue 8, Spring 2012


  1. Hi, Susan, I just discovered a delicious summer treat. All winter I keep frozen strawberries in my freezer, and although they thaw mushy I keep finding great ways to use them. The other day I opened a can of peaches in a "lite" syrup (haven't had a peach tree in my yard since I was in my teens!) I added a few frozen strawberries to the canned peaches, chilled and it's out of this world.

    eating from a can
    in the garden tiny green
    peas pop the earth

  2. sound delicious, Merrill! and I love the poem :)

  3. I just knew Curtis's shortcut was gonna turn around and bite him in the rear!

  4. The idea for Frugal Poet was founded on that recipe...the temerity!