Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Cranberry Salad


By Shadle (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

With Thanksgiving approaching I’ve been thinking about the great Thanksgiving dinners we used to have at my parents. There was always the turkey and dressing (mom made some of the best!) and the green bean casseroles and sweet potatoes and usually pumpkin and mince meat pies. But for some reason, I’ve been thinking this year of her cranberry salads–and wishing I had the recipe (if one of my siblings sees this and has it, I’d love a copy!). Big lesson here is make sure you ask your mom for all those great recipes while you can!

Here’s what I remember of her cranberry salads. I have no clue of quantities but they started with canned whole cranberries, I’m pretty sure a raspberry or cherry Jello, chopped walnuts, celery, and orange zest. But her secret ingredient that added that special something was 7-Up. That added a bit of a sweet tang that made it special.

I’ve seen similar recipes that add mayonnaise or whipped cream toppings. That was too much for her. She would simply serve a generous dollop on a piece of fresh lettuce, usually on the nice china salad plates we would only see on special occasions. And it was one of those dishes you could ask for more of without worrying about being stuffed.

I have to admit that this wasn’t as true as a kid when I was all about getting the big old drumstick and lots of dressing. But as I grew up I found myself enjoying that cranberry salad (some would call it a relish) more and more.

In the kitchen, I am not so much the cook as the assistant. I’m good (at least most of the time) at taking orders. But some time, I think I’d like to experiment and see if I can figure out how to make my mom’s cranberry salad. And if I do, I’ll let you know!

Meanwhile, I would love to hear your favorite cranberry salad or relish recipes. From what I see, there are lots of different ways people like to do this, and like so many other things, I suspect no one does it better than my fellow Youngstowners!

Happy Thanksgiving!


5 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Cranberry Salad

  1. Me TOO! Loved Mom’s cranberry salad but, as much as I try, I’ve never been able to duplicate it. A lot of love and effort went into that very special dinner..thanks for the reminder and good luck with that salad!


  2. My sister Cindy who pasted away 8 yrs ago, she was the baby, of us 3. I was the oldest then my brother, then Cindy. But she loved the cranberry salad but I can’t remember who in the family made it. We usually went to my Dad’s mom’s house for all the holidays and most Fridays for fish and a lot of Sunday’s for spaghetti My Nana my Mom’s mom, didn’t make it either. So it must of been one of my Aunts on my Dad’s side who married in to our Italian family. Sorry got off the subject of cranberry, but my sister’s birthday is the 21st. and been on my mind, so when I seen this it brought back some of our holiday dinners she would be 58. Thanks for all the good memories of this and Youngstown, a lot of my family is still there.



    Recipe By momm2493
    See all of momm2493’s recipes >
    An old family favorite anytime — but at holiday times, it’s a MUST!
    READY IN: 3 hrs 10 mins
    SERVES: 12

    3 (3 1/2ounce) boxes strawberry Jell-O gelatin dessert
    3 cups boiling water
    1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
    1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
    1 cup celery, finely chopped
    1⁄2 cup nuts, finely chopped (walnuts or pecans)


    In mixing bowl, combing jello and boiling water; stir until dissolved. Add cranberry sauce to hot mixture; stir until melted. Allow to cool slightly . Transfer jello mixture to desired dish (mold, rectanglar pyrex, etc.) Add pineapple, celery and nuts over top. Place in refridgerator until set. YUM!

    I used the cherry jello. I am sure you could add 7 up instead of all water, maybe try 1 1/2 cup of each 7up and water rather than 3cups water.

    Liked by 1 person

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