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Foodie Friday: 1980s "Diet" Jell-O Salad

If you are a child of the seventies or eighties, you remember holiday meals always including at least one Jell-O salad. As a child, I was not a fan of Jell-O. The wiggly, jiggly, fruit-flavored rubber did not appeal to me. You might remember when "Finger Jell-O" was all the rage. It was colorful rubber that one could hold with one's hands and eat. For several years, every school, birthday, Halloween, and Christmas party I attended had "Finger Jell-O" on the menu. Although I am not a fan of Jell-O or Finger Jell-O, I love a good Jell-O salad.


My grandmother used to make a Jell-O salad that was an odd beige color and included maraschino cherries and walnuts. Often, large white lumps would be incorporated into the beige creamy mixture. I have yet to find this recipe anywhere, but as a child, I would eat several servings of this gelatinous concoction, and I loved it. I also remember a delicious green Jell-O salad that included nuts, pineapple, and marshmallows. Oh, to go back to those days. Sigh.


If you were a child of the seventies and eighties, you probably remember the diet fads that were all the rage. My mom, whom I never considered overweight, would attend weekly TOPS meetings held at Tanoma Hall. Ladies would gather, get weighed, discuss, I'm not sure what, and then usually have a snack. Honestly, I think it was more of a social thing than a serious diet program. However, I remember my mom often walking and making a diet Jell-O salad. When I look at this recipe now, it makes me giggle because it is sweet and filled with cottage cheese, orange Jell-O, and Cool Whip. Today, we avoid sugar, fat, processed food, and dairy when trying to lose weight.


Sometimes, one just craves food from their childhood. There are days that nothing hits the spot quite like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Wonder Bread. For Eric, it's fried bologna and Velveeta slices on white bread. I also crave peas and tuna over toast. I hated this meal as a child, but it is pure nostalgia today. Right now, I am craving my mom's "diet" Jell-O orange salad. Honestly, it is more dessert than diet food, but it's light, fresh, and reminds me of simpler times when things were good. This week's meals have been basic or make-it-yourself. The slightest bending or stretching is excessively unpleasant with my back being out. I have no pictures to share or comfort food to tell you about. However, I dug into my trusty Tinkerbell folder and found my mom's recipe for diet Jell-O salad, which I will share today.



1980s "Diet" Jell-O Salad



-1 Can of Crushed Pineapple, Well Drained

-1 Container of Cottage Cheese

1 Small Box of Orange Jell-O

1 Container of Cool Whip


In a large bowl, mix the first three ingredients. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until well blended. Chill for at least four hours. Serve and enjoy.


It's pure nostalgia and doesn't get any easier, dear reader. This is going to be on the dessert menu tonight. My three favorite girls will be here hanging out: Jordan, Jenna, and Raylee. Although The Bean will not eat it, Jenna and Ray are pretty good about not being picky. I enjoy sharing recipes from my childhood with my favorite young people. This will put a smile on my face.


On this lovely, spring-like day, stay safe, be smart, eat the food that reminds you of your childhood, share those memories with those you care for, and keep washing your hands.

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We eat this jello salad a lot! I was introduced to it by my mother in law when I was pregnant with my 1st child & wasn’t feeling well in my 1st trimester! It went down really well & I’ve loved it ever since!

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