A cheery, cherry dessert

Wow, the rain came with a big bang Friday evening! At this point in time, my sister and I both have had sewing machine problems, one of those things. I was using one that I don’t use too often and when the needle came out, while I was sewing jersey fabric and it wouldn’t go back in, so it was back to my Old Faithful that has sew several million miles. Since the machine was purchased in 1957, anyone who knows me knows that probably isn’t an exaggeration. So, it was off to her house to use her machine, worked fine, then, Thursday evening was payback time, she wound a bobbin and then the machine wouldn’t do anything else, no sewing, no further winding, nothing, so she came and used mine. While she was here we started hearing thunder and a short time after she left the storm hit with full force, lights blinking, lightening flashing and the thunder rolled…it was really awesome and I enjoyed watching some of it out my kitchen window. When it was all over, but a few dribbles, I checked my rain gauge and had over 1½-inches. We were both thankful that it didn’t arrive while we were doing some shopping in Victoria. With this pandemic, she and I don’t get to go as frequently as we used to. We got us some lunch at Panda Express and sat in the car and ate. It was pretty good, but so much more pleasant to be seated inside and enjoying our meal.
My brother lives in north Texas and they’ve had seven or eight inches over a less than a week of time and he sent a photo of a power pole leaning on the fence, the ground was so very saturated that it fell over! I can barely imagine that much rain in our area unless we have a hurricane dumping water on us.
Later today, (Friday), I will head to Devine as some of my family will be in from out of town and I haven’t seen them since Christmas. My packing is done, food is ready to pack in an ice chest, snacks are finished, and all that’s left is getting loaded up and on the road. To say I’m excited would be putting it very mildly. I miss that youngest granddaughter of mine and her husband so much.
When I was researching cherries, I decided to check on maraschino cherries at the same time and, as usual, found a wealth of information at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, (http.en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Maraschino_cherry) if you care to check it out. It states; “The name maraschino refers to the marasca cherry and the maraschino liqueur made from it, in which maraschino cherries were originally preserved. They were, at first, produced for and consumed as a delicacy by royalty and the wealthy”.
The maraschino cherry, as such, does not grow on trees in the form that we know it. It begins as something else and is transformed into the familiar sweet, red treat. They are usually a light colored cherry, mostly of the Royal Ann (this is also sometimes spelled Royal Anne and even called Queen Anne), Rainier or Gold variety.
“Maraschino cherries have the food value of a Lifesaver®”. This was intriguing, as who would have thought they had any food value at all? One of the articles states: “You wouldn’t call it (Maraschino cherries), healthy, but it’s fine” for a treat.
The (five greats)-grandmother of today’s maraschino was a variety called the “marasca” that was a small, sour, black cherry that grew wild in Dalmatia on the coast of what is the present day Croatia. The maraschino cherry was first introduced into the United States in the late 19th century, where they were served in bars and restaurants. By the early 1900s, American producers were already experimenting with flavors, most notably almond and substituting Queen Anne cherries for the marasca, which had to be imported and therefore was very expensive.
Around 1912, the USDA stepped in and stated that the colored and sweetened Royal Anne variety had to be called “Imitation Maraschino Cherries”, because many places were still using the imported cherries from Italy that were considered the real thing.
So, to summarize, this story, (and believe me, I’ve edited this from my original for space concerns) light colored cherries, are picked, by hand or machine, depending where they are grown, west coast or east coast, bleached white, colored with red dye, sweetened and packed in syrup for our use.
There is a lot more information in these articles, but if I used everything that is available, there wouldn’t be room in the paper for anything else.
Oranges, Cherries, Coconut, Whipped topping (if desired)
This does not have exact ingredients, because it can be made with just one or two oranges for two or three people, or it can use more for a special occasion family dessert.
Peel oranges, removing as much as the white pith as possible, slice crosswise into slices slightly less than ¼-inch thick, set aside. Drain cherries and cut into quarters, set aside. Using a dish the desired size, place a layer of orange slices into the bowl, top with some of the cherries, top the cherries with coconut and repeat the layers making as much as you want. Drizzle with some of the cherry juice if desired and serve with whipped topping.
Homemade fruit salad is always prettier if several maraschino cherries are cut into halves or quarters and stirred in.