Indiana, PA - Indiana County

CARL KOLOGIE: Don't forget the salad

by on December 22, 2013 1:50 AM

T’was the night before ... well, not quite, but in a couple days it will be.

It seems we just sat down to a Thanksgiving turkey dinner, with all the trimmings, and before it has even had time to digest, it’s Christmas.

This is my time to reminisce about the holiday season while growing up in Saltsburg.

I know, I know, you have read about it in this space in years past.

But give me a break, and before I get all teary-eyed and emotional, I will relate a quick story about Christmas in the ’Burg.

My mother, as I have said many times before, was the best cook, and baker, in the world.

There are many in the Indiana County area who can attest to that as my parents would frequent flea markets every weekend selling their baked goods, which included apple dumplings that sold out before they had time to put them all on the display table.

She always prided herself on the cranberry salad she made for the holiday season. Of course, there was no recipe. In fact, I can never remember her using a recipe for anything.

As much as I can remember, she put pineapple, walnuts, celery, carrots and I don’t know what else, but it was beautiful.

This salad looked so good that you almost hated to stick a fork in it and damage it. It was in a ring-shaped mold and was a sight to see.

One year at Christmas we were all seated around the table in the kitchen — it was a big kitchen — and we had just about finished the main course and were ready to dig into desert when my sister-in-law suddenly asked, “Where’s the cranberry salad?”

My mom jumped up and yelled, “It’s in the refrigerator in the basement and I forgot to bring it up.” She was just devastated. It was her precious salad and she did not remember to put it on the table.

She immediately ran down the cellar stairs, brought up the salad, put it in plates and served it to everyone, with a smile I might add. And no matter how full we were, we knew we had to eat that salad … and we did.

We all howled and laughed for the rest of the day and vowed we would never let her live that down.

For years after we always reminded her to put the cranberry salad on the table. And that folks, is my Christmas story for this year.

My best to all of you during this joyous Christmas season.

Be safe if you are traveling and enjoy your time with your loved ones.

o o o

And while on the subject of the ’Burg, did you know that the Kiskiminetas River, along with its major tributary, the Conemaugh, has been nominated for the Pennsylvania River of the Year Award?

For the past 20 years the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has recognized one river to raise awareness of the important recreational, ecological and historical resources associated with the state’s rivers and streams.

The four other state finalists this year are the West Branch of the Susquehanna, Schuylkill River, Ohio River and Brodhead Creek.

Public voting determines the winner and anyone can vote at

The voting period runs until Friday.

Events are celebrated throughout the year at the River of the Year. Last year’s winner was the Monongahela.

Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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