When I say that my grandma has 10 billion recipes that involve pineapple and gelatin, I’m not exaggerating. Every which way you could think to incorporate these two items was thoroughly documented by my grandmother.
At the potlucks of my youth, I (regretfully) had largely ignored this “grandma food.” Even a dish laced with miniature marshmallows could not lure me. I was just there for the chicken and cake. How could I have known that Flavored Gelatin + Canned Fruit + Whipped Cream + Miscellaneous = Refreshing Dreaminess.
Fluff – a dessert that’s disguised as a salad. A salad that is socially acceptable to have on your dinner plate – right next to your green beans. You can eat dessert with dinner, and have another dessert after dinner. You get two desserts – without all the guilt that accompanies eating two desserts. Genius!
Now that my palate is older and more refined (cough, cough), I’m working on resurrecting some of these “salads” in my own home. Currently, our beloved “Lime Fluff” is in heavy rotation. It accompanies dinner whenever we smoke a brisket. We had to stop making it any more often than that because my husband loved it so much that he was actually making it himself (and making it frequently). I knew we had to slow down. We were going to crash and burn on Lime Fluff, and we would have it no more.
When your name is attached to a fluff recipe in someone’s collection, it must have been a memorable salad. Found deep in the files of “Nelle’s Cornucopia of Domestic Wisdom” ……. Filed under “Fluff-o-licious” ……… I introduce to you “Lula Chaloupka’s Salad.”
Who Was Lula Chaloupka?
Lula Greenawalt was born in Pennsylvania in 1896. In 1919, she married John Chaloupka. They farmed west of Yale for 43 years, then moved to Panora in the early 1960’s (retired from the farm, I imagine). Shortly after, in 1965, John passed away. I’m not sure how my grandma knew her, but I would imagine two ladies of roughly the same age, living in the same small town – they eventually ran into each other and exchange recipes, some sewing tips, and maybe some gossip.
I don’t know much about Lula, but I can speak with authority on her salad – it makes a good fluff. It’s the same recipe we make for our staple Thanksgiving Orange Fluff (except I substitute mandarin oranges for the pineapple). The texture is divine. The cottage cheese adds a nice contrast to the fluffy whipped cream, and then you get that juicy bite from the fruit…… yum!
This recipe is:
- Quick and easy to assemble.
- Food storage friendly. Most of the ingredients can be stored in the pantry – so you have them available in a pinch.
- Flexible – Ingredients can be swapped out if you prefer other flavors.
- A lovely accompaniment to most meals.
And because of all of its spectacular features, this recipe bears the “Nelle Knowlton Seal of Approval”
The following is my recipe for Lime Fluff. It takes a little more time to make (thus no seal of approval from grandma, nor fancy graphic):
- 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits
- 1 (8 oz.) tub of Cool Whip
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese, softened
- 1 (small) pkg. of lime Jell-O
- 1 cup miniature marshmallows (we like those colorful, citrus flavored ones)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Drain the pineapple (save the juice).
- Put the juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add Jell-O and dissolve in juice.
- Place cream cheese in a large bowl (soften it in the microwave a bit if you need to).
- Pour the Jell-O over cream cheese.
- Use a fork to break up the cream cheese.
- Refrigerate until mixture is jelled (about 45-60 minutes)
- Fold in pineapple, Cool Whip and marshmallows.
- You can top with pecans after it’s well-chilled.