FN Stars: Family Traditions Transcript

    The holiday special, "Food Network Stars: Family Traditions" is an hour-long show featuring most of FN's main cooking stars as of 1999. The show is set at a party with everyone standing around, having a good time and talking about what their Christmas was like when they were young. Each guest brought a favorite dish to the party and they explain why that dish is significant in their life around the holidays. None of the guests actually cook the dish during this show: the item is already prepared and laying on a huge banquet table.
   Several guests could not attend—Gordon Elliot for one—and so those folks have short video clips. Alton Brown's video clip is him sitting in his GE home telling us a story about his 1971 Christmas and why Ma Mae's Congealed Christmas Salad is a special dish. What follows is just the transcript from Alton's segment.

The Den


    Although my family always ate very well during the holidays, there is one dish that kind of sums up the whole Yuletide thing for me. It's my grandmother's congealed salad which I had for the first time Christmas 1971, an otherwise disastrous Christmas.
    See, the day before, Christmas Eve, I decided it would be a good idea to jump out of my tree house. I did, fell on a rock, shattered my right arm. So, my mom and my dad packed me off to this little hospital a couple of towns away. But when we get there, there's only one doctor on duty, no nurses, no nothing. So, my mom has to help set the arm while my dad runs to the drug store for plaster of Paris. So, this takes like all night long and by the time they get my right side of my body encased in a cast, Christmas Eve is over—no gingerbread, no eggnog, no Grinch cake, nothing.
   Christmas morning comes and irony is heaped on injury when I receive as presents a leather cowboy jacket—you know the little one with the fringe that we all liked so much—and a BB rifle: neither of which I could use because, you know, my plaster's up to here [indicates shoulder/neck area]. So I decided to dedicate the rest of the day to a serious sulk-fest.
    But then, my grandmother shows up with this incredible congealed salad. I mean it was Zen simple. It's just lemon Jell-O, orange Jell-O, canned crushed pineapple, canned whole cranberry sauce and lots of toasted pecans. It, it just turned the whole day around for me, which is why every Christmas from then on, regardless of what's in the middle of the plate, I make sure there's a big fat slab of Ma Mae's Christmas Salad parked on the side of the plate.
    I hope you like it. Just remember, don't try to use fresh pineapple because it contains an enzyme that breaks down the gelatin in the Jell-O and, well, just stick with canned pineapple.


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Last Edited on 08/27/2010