My mum is brilliant at making trifle and when I was home at the weekend there was a lovely individual serving of it waiting just for me.

I said, “This is a really big helping, I’m not sure I can eat it all.”  Her response really made me laugh, “It’s only jelly and custard!”

I was thinking that when my workmates saw this “Holiday Salad” concoction they might be a bit wary of it.  In response, I could say, “It’s only jelly and mayonnaise and cinnamon candies and cream cheese and applesauce and walnuts and lemon juice.”  Madness!

I have been an admirer from afar of the website Movies Silently for many years but was tentative about getting in touch with Fritzi, the proprietress, I don’t know why.  But we have made contact recently and we immediately decided to collaborate on a madcap recipe challenge. Whoopee!

Fritzi threw down the gauntlet.  Julie’s bizarre Holiday Salad.  Well, it’s very bizarre to me, a Brit, but apparently not so bizarre to those on the other side of the pond who are quite au fait with gelatin/gelatine based desserts.  Especially at Thanksgiving I believe, which might be where the Holiday bit comes in…

I’m not sure why Julie Christie should proffer this very American recipe when asked by the Motion Picture Mothers organization for something to include in their lovely book.

Why not Eton Mess or Toad in the Hole or Bubble and Squeak, Julie?  Who knows. Although Julie was born in India, I think all Brits think of her as very much one of OURS.  Mainly because of Billy Liar

but also such delights as Far From The Madding Crowd, which I am half watching as I type this. She’s just utterly fabulous as Bathsheba Everdene.

Like many of us in our youth, Bathsheba makes bad relationship choices.  Why can’t she SEE that Gabriel played by the “eternal peasant-pagan” Alan Bates is the perfect man for her?!

But back to the Holiday Salad. I’m guessing Julie was living in Hollywood when asked for a recipe and wanted to go native.  Her other recipe in this book is for Pumpkin Bread.  As I said to Vic, “people in Britain wouldn’t have known what a pumpkin WAS in 1970.”  His response, “I don’t know what it is NOW.”

I’ll be attempting this on Halloween…

I may have made a schoolgirl error with my choice of gelatine product.  I assumed that by “lemon gelatin” Julie meant what is known here in the UK as lemon jelly.

Is there such a thing as lemon flavoured gelatine powder?  Or might there have been in the 1970s?  Perhaps this is what Julie meant?

This is UNFLAVORED – so therefore perhaps there is also FLAVORED…

I blame this Brit-based gelatine mix-up for my “salad” not setting.  It went in the fridge overnight and looked suitably wobbly when it came out…

but this is what happened when the birthday girl at work lifted the mold – ta-dah!

Not much definition despite my very fancy vintage patterned mold – a lovely gift from Nicky and Davie many years ago.

My work colleagues are always game for tasting weird movie star related dishes but this one was a bit challenging.  Anne went in first and made the encouraging comment, “It tastes better than it looks.”  I didn’t get a photo of her reaction alas.

James was next and agreed that it didn’t taste awful

observing that he wouldn’t have to “lick a battery” to take away the taste of it as he thought he might have to.

Obi, usually my champion for all things I offer up on the mezzanine was very wary and pulled a classic Obi face after tasting it.

He agreed that it wasn’t too bad.  In fact, he kinda liked it (but only kinda).

Sarah went in and again, gave an excellent tasting face!

She liked it too.

So all of those who were brave enough to taste it were in agreement that it was surprisingly edible.

Julie from upstairs called it “Brain Salad”

I couldn’t eat any more of it after that comparison for obvious reasons.

At one point Louise walked past it to get a glass of water and shouted, “your pudding has turned into plasma!”

Indeed, it was becoming THE BLOB.

Reactions to this dish on social media cracked me up.  Claire from the bfi asked of this photo,

“is that some kind of pharmaceutical on the right?!

To which my response was, “Valley of the Dolls.”

For those not familiar with “cinnamon candies” (I certainly wasn’t until this challenge), they look like this…

and when you attempt to dissolve them, like this…

“Remains of the Day” – perhaps if they had fully melted the salad would have set?

Laura wrote of the Holiday Salad on Instagram, “Looks vile.  What holiday exactly?”  My response, “It’s a mystery” and it is.  Maybe it would be appropriate for

although that’s not really a holiday…

I met Battenburgbelle for breakfast on the morning I took the Holiday Salad to work.  I took it out of my backpack to show her it and she said, “Do NOT bring that to Thanksgiving.”

So in a large nutshell, there you have it.  An adventure in weird food making – done!  Bring on the next one!

Skip over to Movies Silently to see Fritzi’s version of this bonkers dessert.  Please note that neither of us took Julie’s serving suggestion of decorating this dish with “greens”.

Mind you, a bit of lettuce might make it seem just-ever-so-slightly more what we Brits would consider a salad.

Are you familiar with the phenomenon that is Women Laughing Alone With Salad?

Here, to end with is a photo of me laughing alone with “salad”.  I am pretending to be Gloria Swanson holding William Holden’s Lime Gelatine with Carrots, Olives, and Nuts in the shape of a rabbit.

That one set!

Thanks, Fritzi for challenging me to make Julie’s Holiday Salad, I got lots of laughs out of it, and not just when I was alone with it.

Check out Fritzi’s brilliant stuff!

Her website – Movies Silently

Her Twitter feed (so many fab silent movie gifs) – @MoviesSilently

Her DVD release – Kidnapped: A Complete 1917 Night at the Movies

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