“Coca Cola went to town,

Pepsi Cola shot him down,

Dr. Pepper picked him up,

And now they call him Seven-Up.”

That old rhyme we would recite during our childhood and adolescence kept going around in my mind this week, as I thought of the refreshment of various soft drinks during the hot summer months and, then, I thought of something else. How versatile these various soft drinks are and how they are used in certain culinary concoctions that bring smiles to faces of those of us raised “Around the Banks of the Suwannee.” Here are a few I will share with you this week.

Whether summer, winter, spring or fall, nothing says comfort quite like a good pound cake. In Southern life, I don’t know of single cake baked, shared, and, as much a part of our lives as pound cake. Whether toasted and slathered with butter, served hot right out of the oven, served with strawberries or peaches, or with a frosting or without, pound cake never fails to bring thoughts of comfort and the fragrance of one baking in the oven can transport me back in time very quickly, as I recall dear faces and voices, now gone from this earth but still treasured.

While the recipe I am going to share with you now is not a traditional Pound Cake Recipe, it is a good one. My mother has made it on numerous occasions and for several years baked it as my birthday cake, because being somewhat of a purist when it comes to cake, a pound cake if made and baked “just right” is my favorite. I think you’ll like this recipe, perhaps you have tried it.

Old Fashioned 7-Up Pound Cake

  • 3 sticks butter

  • 3 c. Swans cake flour

  • 3 c. sugar

  • 1/2 c. 7-Up soda
  • 
1 tbsp. lemon flavor
  • 
1 tbsp. butter flavoring, optional

  • 5 eggs
  • 
1 tbsp. vanilla flavoring

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (oven temperatures may vary depending on oven, can bake at 300, 325 or 350 degrees).

Cream softened butter and 3 cups sugar together. Add 5 eggs, cream together. Add 1 cup cake flour, cream until smooth. Add 2 cups cake flour, cream until smooth. Add 1/2 cup 7-Up, cream. Add lemon and vanilla flavoring (butter flavoring optional) and cream until smooth.

Grease and flour bundt or tube pan. Pour mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool and then invert onto serving plate.

Another wonderful recipe utilizing soft drinks is one using Coca-Cola. One of the best things to come out of Jasper, Florida, is the Jasper Woman’s Club Centennial Edition of their Cook Book. My mother who is a great Southern cook swears this congealed salad is a favorite. I wish the Woman’s Club would re-publish that cookbook. I know it takes money, but it is a classic.

Old Fashioned Cherry Coca Cola Congealed Salad


  • 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained, but juices reserved

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of sweet Bing cherries, drained, but syrup reserved*

  • About a cup of POM Wonderful Cranberry juice, divided, optional

  • 1 large (8 serving size) cherry flavored Jello

  • 1 (12 ounce) can of chilled Coca-Cola
  • 
1/2 cup of chopped pecan, optional


Topping (recipe below), cottage cheese, or sweet salad dressing mayonnaise (like Dukes or Hellman’s Mayonnaise) for garnish, optional



Drain the cherry syrup and pineapple juices into a 2 cup or larger measuring cup. Set the fruit aside in the refrigerator to chill.


To the fruit juices, add enough POM juice to equal a total of 2 cups of juice. You can substitute Coke, other compatible juices, or even water to make up the full 2 cups. Transfer to a saucepan and bring up to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the Jello powder until fully dissolved. Set mixture aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, pour the chilled coke into the same 2-cup measure. This should be roughly 1-1/2 cups of liquid. Top off with additional POM juice to equal 2 cups. Stir into the Jello mixture and transfer to a bowl. Chill until mixture begins to thicken and jell, about 1-1/2 hours.


Once the gelatin has begun to set, stir in the pineapple, cherries and pecans and return to the refrigerator until fully set. Can also pour into small, prepared individual molds or a larger mold if desired. Allow to fully set for at least 3 to 4 hours - do not stir!
To serve turn out molds onto individual lettuce leaves, or spoon servings into short parfait glasses, or onto leaves of lettuce. Top with a small dollop of the cream cheese topping below, or sweet mayonnaise, such as Miracle Whip, if desired. Homemade mayonnaise is particularly endeared for congealed salads.


IMPORTANT: You must use the canned, sweet Bing cherries in syrup for this recipe. Do not be tempted to substitute the tart version of canned cherries. They are far too tart for this dish. In a pinch, a (10 ounce) jar of bottled maraschino cherries, well drained, can be substituted. Be sure to reserve and use the juice! Chill the fruit cans in advance if you have time - it will help the gelatin to set. Do not use fresh pineapple. 


*Can substitute other juices you happen to have on hand in place of the POM juice, additional Coca Cola, or just plain water to equal a total of 4 cups. Some people like to substitute other cold drinks like Dr. Pepper, or Cherry Coke as well. What you want is an overall total of 4 cups of liquid in the end.


Variation: Add 3-ounces of cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes, the same time that you add in the pineapple, cherries and pecans. 


Topping

  • 
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 
2 cups of thawed Cool Whip or whipped cream


Cream together the cream cheese and sugar; stir in the Cool Whip or whipped cream, until well combined. Use as a topping for salad.

These I had at a party last fall and was impressed especially since during my childhood and adolescence I could count on one hand, the number of times I ever drank Pepsi products. We were a Coca Cola household. Everyone has their preferences

Pepsi Cola Slow Cooked Crock Pot Ribs

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork loin back ribs cut into bite sized pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup Pepsi
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

I use a little more salt and black pepper with mine, about 1/2tsp. of each. Salt and pepper to season as you see fit.

Instructions for Cooking

Spray 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Cut ribs into 2 or 3 rib portions and place in slow cooker. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper and pour Pepsi over.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (until ribs are tender, at least 170ºF)

Drain and discard liquid from slow cooker. Add barbecue sauce and thyme into slow cooker on top of drained ribs and mix so the ribs are coated.

Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes to 1 hour until ribs are glazed.

Serve immediately

Hope you enjoy each of these great recipes, in inverted order from dessert down to meat.

From the Eight Mile Still on the Woodpecker Route north of White Springs, wishing you a day filled with joy, peace, and, above all, lots of love and laughter.

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