Perfection Dinner . . . Not.

I couldn’t let Perfection be ignored. I couldn’t go on and on about a 102-year-old recipe without giving it a go, right? And I’m here to tell you, it’s everything you imagined it could be.

When I told Gentle Husband that I was making said Perfection, he quipped ever so galantly, “You’d better have your parents over when you serve that because somebody has to eat it.” Ah! Good idea! A party!! Perfection demands guests after all.

What else to serve alongside Perfection? I did what any good depression-era housewife would have done — I looked at what I already had in my cupboard that would fit the bill (of fare). There’s that stack of hot dogs. . . . Of course, pigs in a blanket! The exemplar of creativity and economy. Add some diced carrots and peas, and you have a square meal. Sublime!

Could any dessert match a congealed paragon of virtue? Why yes! The Crown Jewel itself! Again using that collection of Jell-O I’ve acquired over the years.

The pigs were met with skepticism. Gentle Husband recalled, “Yeah, my Mom tried that. . . . Once.” Hm. Note to self: If said recipe was once served in the literal Mona Faye’s Kitchen with little acclaim, serving it in a virtual Mona Faye’s Kitchen, even with the requisite amount of kitsch, will not please Gentle Husband. Gentle Boys, however, enjoyed the pigs but missed the swine connection.

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Those photos really sell it, don’t they? You can just smell the history as you see those sweaty weiners glistening in their Kosher glory. Yum!

Peas and Carrots were appropriately tough and under-salted. I should have boiled them for hours rather than zapped them for minutes.

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Crown Jewel Dessert was . . . well, just like you’d imagine Jell-O and whipped cream would taste. Utterly forgetable. Very diety.

 

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But we can’t forget the recipe that gathered this crowd — Perfection Salad itself. When I invited my parents, my mom said, “Oh yeah. . . . I remember that! They served it in the cafeteria in my high school all the time!! But it was the War.” Ah, happy memories of the good War. I chopped the pickles and gathered the Knox and vinegar. I had no pimentos, so I added chopped carrots instead. Plopped it ever so carefully into my Bundt ring and set it to chill.

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When I schlepped it onto the serving platter — a 1950s Jadeite green — Gentle Husband said, “Huh. Looks just like a Horta.” Ah . . . another vintage reference. That’s what Perfection does, I guess. Brings together all the high-cultural elements into a kind of transcendent symmetry.

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Perfection tasted gelatinous and stringy. I imagined that Perfection would be more crunchy and zingy, less slurpy. Touché. My Dad had two helpings while my dear Mother tried to imagine improvements: “Honey, I think the cabbage should be chopped smaller and less coarse. And the pickles. Leave out the pickles. . . . The recipe called for pimentos? Ew. I wouldn’t put in pimentos. . . . Well, I’ll have something to tell your Aunt Stella tonight when I call her. Aunt Wanda used to make this for all those Polish showers. Yeah, we always had something exactly . . . like . . . this.”

And so Perfection had what we all deemed the perfect ending — down the drain.

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5 Responses to “Perfection Dinner . . . Not.”

  1. hsgbdmama says:

    ROFLOL!!!! Thanks for the laugh, and being willing to share that we are not perfect, despite our efforts … ((hugs))

  2. Lisa says:

    (dear sister-in-law)
    Well, I think I’m really glad that I don’t live close enough to have been invited to this sumptuous feast! :) However, I happen to like the gelatinous “Crown Jewel Dessert.” Well, sort of the same.

    When I was young and visiting Grandma Meyers, she always let me pick out a treat at the grocery store to eat while I was there. My two favorite choices; jello cubes in whipped cream, or a spread of cream cheese with pineapple bits…came in a little glass jar, perfectly usable as a juice glass later! Very frugal!

    Yesterday, Rick and I went grocery shopping. We ran into the supper hour, and as I was ever so tired and not wanting to cook (after babysitting Zoie all day) we bought a ready to eat roasted chicken, and yup….you guessed it! Jello cubes in whipped cream! YUM! :)

    Zoie requested hot dogs. Minus the blankets. :)

  3. Mona Faye says:

    Without a doubt, Perfection Salad was the highlight of the dinner ! As Grant used to say when he first started eating school lunches, “Mama, you just get so hungry you could eat anything !”

    I think you should try it again with well drained crushed pineapple and finely grated cabbage, maybe a few shredded carrots. Use lemon jello to make it easier. Make it in a square pyrex and top it with your sour creme, creme cheese, sugar mixture. Sounds delicious !

    The last time I tried getting a jello salad out of a bundt mold, it fell on the floor and made such a mess I have never tried it again. Seems you are not supposed to leave it in the pan of warm water so long……….so much for my timing ! ha !

  4. Lisa says:

    Why would you want to ruin perfectly good jello with cabbage? Never did understand that. The pineapple sounds good though! Yellow jello? (isn’t there a song about that?….there should be!)

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