Lemon Jell-O and a Sidekick

Easter is coming. The holidays at our house have gotten simpler over the years, but some old favorites still appear. Others may go, but there’s one dish we always ask for at special times. We call it Lemon Jell-O.

This is Jell-O gone fancy. It has bananas, marshmallows and pineapple in it, and a creamy frosting made from real whipped cream (not Cool Whip) and sprinkled with a Parmesan twist.

Exactly when my mother first made Frosted Lemon Salad (the recipe’s given name), and it entered the family lore, is unclear. But its role since then is secure. Lemon Jell-O is a member of the family, just as much as Aunt Gertie and Uncle Harry.

Lemon Jell-O has been there for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner when Grandma Smee, my great-grandmother, was still with us. It’s been there for the reception when my sister Sue got married, for my nephew Blair’s first birthday party, for graduations, weekends home from college and even funerals. It’s been there for every important occasion, good or bad, like a comforting friend.
It made a recent appearance last Christmas, on my sister's table in England. The serving plates (vintage Sidekick by Corning) helped pull off a simple and festive table setting.

Lemon Jell-O will always be part of our family.

Lemon Jell-O vintage salad recipe

Lemon Jell-O in England

Frosted Lemon Salad

2 small boxes lemon Jell-O
2 c. boiling water
2 c. cold water
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple (drain but save juice)
1 c. miniature marshmallows
2-3 large bananas, peeled and sliced

In a 13 x 9 glass baking dish, make Jell-O with water, following package directions. Chill until partially set. Mix in drained pineapple, marshmallows and banana slices. Chill until firm, then top.


½ c. sugar
2 T. flour
1 c. reserved pineapple juice (add water if necessary to make 1 c. liquid)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 T. butter
1 c. whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
3 T. Parmesan cheese

Mix sugar and flour. Add juice and egg. Cook until thick over medium heat, stirring often.

Remove from heat and add butter. Let cool. This mixture should be refrigerated and cold before folding into whipped cream. When cooked mixture is cooled, whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold mixture and whipped cream together until just mixed. Spread on Jell-O. Sprinkle cheese on top.

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