Food

Thanksgiving Question: What’s Your Glark?

Thanksgiving Question: What's Your Glark

Every family has one…

In our family, my mom served Orange Glark, a molded Jell-O side dish that appeared on the Thanksgiving table right alongside the turkey and stuffing. Its presence wasn’t questioned, or even really discussed. In its 20-year tenure as a regular, no one ever uttered, “I love how the brightness of the canned pineapple and mandarin orange chunks suspended inside this Jell-O so perfectly contrast with the richness of the turkey’s gravy” or wondered aloud, “Why is this even called Glark?”

In spite of the dish’s sentimental significance in our family, no one seems to know the answer to that question. All we know is that my mom, who grew up in Very West Western Pennsylvania — almost the Midwest, where Jell-O dishes were once popular — got the recipe from an old friend in the 70s, and never stopped making it. At least until her children and grandchildren started good-naturedly roasting her for it.

And now, in a shockingly unforeseen plot twist, I miss that Glark terribly! It’s what made our family’s feast our very own.

What about you all? What is the one oddball thing about your Thanksgiving table that makes your family’s feast unique?

P.S. 10 handy table manners and what foods don’t you like?

(Photo by Darren Muir/Stocksy.)

  1. Syrine JAMEL says...

    That sounds so good!

  2. Ranwi says...

    From Urban dictionary:
    Glark: Verb: The funny, sloppy, gulping, choking noises one makes while performing deep throat fellatio.

    Now I can’t stop laughing…

    • silly lily says...

      Please! Not while I’m eating! Which will be……. kind of all day……

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. hh067 says...

    My grandmother made a 50s broccoli casserole with everything that sounds 50s and bad in a casserole (ritz crust! cream of mushroom! mayo! frozen chopped broccoli!). It is DELICIOUS and we all fiend for it. Every partner/SO who joins our family gets converted and at least 2 doubled recipes are required. It is a Thanksgiving-only tradition and it is not permitted to make or eat The Cass at any other time. I know she didn’t invent this, but I’ve never actually met another family with this tradition (anyone??). I hate turkey and kinda don’t care about any of the other dishes. Thanksgiving to me is a row of perfectly toasted broccoli casseroles.

  4. MK says...

    Since I was twelve, my mom has made seven-layer salad for Thanksgiving – I like to think of it as 10% iceberg lettuce, 5% bacon, and 85% mayo/sour cream. (There are supposedly other layers, but I cannot tell you what they are or if they actually make the cut in my mom’s version.) It is everything I dislike in a salad. But one year my mom ran out of time for Thanksgiving prep due to a promotion at work and had to rely on a bit of help from the store in preparing dinner. As soon as we sat down, I ignored the store-cooked turkey and instant mashed potatoes and asked loudly, “But where’s the salad?” Oh, tradition.

  5. Jen says...

    My father’s mother always made “Under the Sea” jello salad for the special meals – cream cheese & lemon jello on the bottom, lime jello with suspended fruit and mini marshmallows on the top. I never did understand why the “sea foam” was on the bottom, but it was delicious. My parents never served it, but I started making it again about 10 years ago. Love the nostalgia, and I get a kick out of Jello “salads”!

  6. Tammi Dower says...

    I am from Ohio; anyone else have to have homemade noodles (not pasta…this is like a thick noodle and chicken broth) which you add over mash potatoes? We cant have a family holiday without this dish.
    Also, my sister in law would bring the same cool whip dessert (the one with pudding and crust and then layer with cool whip on top) EVERY family gathering and she would take home the leftovers which was the whole pie minus one piece that someone would eat. I asked one year for her to bring a different dessert for a change and she brought the fucking same dessert with vanilla pudding vs. the chocolate! LOL!
    I am curious that someone mentioned calories above and I cant recall a calorie talk among my aunts and mom during our holiday gatherings in the 70 and 80s. They were in shape gals and brought very high caloric dishes but nothing was ever shunned or discussed because it was “bad for you” or caloric. It is always a hot topic at the modern dinner tables.

    • Allison says...

      I’m from western PA (and while I have never heard of glark and we don’t do Jell-o molds and I’ve never thought of myself as almost midwestern), I grew up eating “chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes” made with wavy egg noodles. Delicious, carby loveliness. I haven’t had it in years, but I just may make it this winter when I need some carby comfort food.

  7. Kristin says...

    What a fantastic read! I’m sitting here relating to so many of the comments (my mom’s side of the family being from the Midwest and my dad’s family being from South TX – I had no chance! I’m just sitting here trying to get an outside perspective otherwise, I’m not sure I even realize we ate anything strange at our yearly feasts 😆!)
    Our Jell-O salad I think we called Star Salad 🤷‍♀️ and I loved it….apricot jello, canned fruit cocktail (including cherries), banana, little marshmallows and shredded coconut! And, yes, I do realize that topping all that with whipped cream and grated cheddar cheese is totally weird as well as the fact that it was served in a great big Pyrex casserole dish! Best leftovers.
    And we always had sweet corn because my grandad grew it 😉

  8. Sarah says...

    Originally from Buffalo, NY here, and my family is from rural areas close by. We’ve always had “grape salad” at Thanksgiving which is some sort of cream/gelatin hybrid (I’m vegan now so all I know is I can’t eat it) with halved grapes, pecans, and pineapple in it. What a palate cleanser!

  9. Cara says...

    My guess is it’s called glark as that is the sound it makes when it comes out of the mold.

  10. Meagan says...

    My grandmother used to make a broccoli casserole with those little pearl onions called “Broccoli Surprise” until we all were joking – “Surprise it’s not good!”

    She’s a good sport and we love reminiscing about the Broccoli Surprise.

    • sily lily says...

      “Surprise it’s not good!” — hilarious.

  11. Sara says...

    New Mexican here and we always serve red chile cheese enchiladas!!!! Turns out i like red chile with my turkey more than gravy. I’m a Utah transplant now but i still make enchies for any thanksgiving dinner i attend… any fellow New Mexicans out there?

  12. Ksm says...

    @cupofjo could you find out from google , how many people googled glark since the post? :)

  13. Denise says...

    Lime jello with applesauce. My mom used to also make a version with Cool Whip and walnuts and it was called the Waldorf.

    And a can-shaped block of cranberry jelly. It might get sliced, or we might just fork off bites. Delicious.