An occasional series in which staff members share a recipe that we turn to time and again:

The Thanksgivings of my childhood were without cranberries.

My mom, practical and insightful, decided when my brother and I were young that it would be futile to coerce her toddlers to try a puckeringly tart, roly-poly food that would in all likelihood stain her table linens. So she tried a different slant: a shimmery, jiggly, unapologetically lumpy side dish made from frozen raspberries, applesauce and, like most salads made in Iowa during the late 1970s, Jell-O. It wasn't fancy. And that's precisely the point.

I've tried several cranberry incarnations since leaving home, as everyone else's tradition seems to dictate. Raw relishes and slowly simmered sauces that many magazines and newspapers might lead you to believe are the stuff of memories.

But I've already got one crimson Thanksgiving tradition, and that's all I need.

Raspberry Salad

8 to 12 servings

The amounts of raspberry and applesauce needn't be precise. Give or take a little of either, the salad still turns out just fine.

This recipe was given to my mom from Mrs. Corliss Leonard of Glidden, Iowa, who, in turn, copied it from one of those spiral-bound cookbooks published by parishes.

2 three-ounce packages raspberry gelatin, such as Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

12- to 16-ounce package frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained if necessary

23- or 24-ounce jar unsweetened applesauce

Finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional but not advised)

Place the gelatin in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly. Add the raspberries, applesauce and, if desired, nuts and stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until chilled through.

Per serving (based on 8): 152 calories, 2 gm protein, 37 gm carbohydrates, 0 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 gm saturated fat, 54 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler