Early in the history of Cooking by the Book, Suzen had a large, long and serious job. She was the major test kitchen for the 1996 Edition of The Joy of Cooking. Then for the 75th Anniversary Edition in 2006, she was the test kitchen. Every recipe was tested in our kitchen.
What does that mean? For 14 months, 5 days a week, 4 or more test chefs worked on every recipe that made it into the Joy — plus many that did not. Testing thousands of recipes was a record-setting job. At the end of the each day, the creations were available to me for dinner. Sound good? A different meal each night? Actually, no, because the testers worked, not on meals, but by food areas. One day would be meat, one cakes. There were plenty of choices each night— say 10 different roasted chickens — but not a balanced meal.
I remember the very first night of testing: 15 different jello recipes. It was visually striking, a rainbow of colors, shapes and flavors. After a few tastes, I took Suzen aside. “I have a better recipe,” I said. I meant it. I made this salad and the recipe passed the gauntlet of editors and into the Joy. That’s my one quarter page contribution to the book.
I knew this recipe, from my childhood, just as the Pineapple Carrot Jello salad. The Joy editors found other versions, all labeled Golden Glow Salad. Versions differ by type of jello and whether to include carrot or not. My version here is close to but a bit different from the Joy’s. I add the pineapple and carrots in the hot jello mixture along with the cold water, rather than let the jello set for a short time. My version is simply the quickest to make.
This is a lovely spring salad that compliments any meal. Out of the fridge, it is frosty cool with a crisp bite from the pineapple and carrots embedded in the jello. It may have been a while since you did anything with jello. This salad is a reason to fill your kettle and begin boiling some water.
Golden Glow Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
1 20-oounce can crushed pineapple
Approximately 1 cup water plus 2 cups cold water
1 3-ounce package orange-flavored jello
1 3-ounce package pineapple-flavored jello
4 cups of medium-grated carrots
Drain the juice from the can of pineapple into a measuring cup and reserve the pineapple. Add enough water to the juice to make 2 cups total fluid. Heat the fluid to boiling a saucepan.
In a medium blow, empty the two packages of jello. Add the boiling liquid and stir until the jello is dissolved. Stir in the 2 cups of cold water.
Add the reserved pineapple and the carrots. Stir to mix well. Pour into a loaf pan or mold and refrigerate until set.
Serve topped with mayonnaise on top of a bed of iceberg lettuce.
Source: Brian O’Rourke adapted from the version in The Joy of Cooking