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Monday, June 18, 2012

Molded Salads. We can't forget those!

One of the biggest things that caught my eye when I started my retro food interest was the infamous molded jello salads. Unflavored gelatin with a little lemon juice, mayo, vegetables, meat, eggs, and voila! A feast fit for someone with a stronger stomach than I have.

I bought this book from ebay and I have to say it is the most fascinating book I have in my collection. I could have scanned the entire book if I was that motivated. It's that disgustingly fascinating.

Better Homes and Gardens Salad Book, 1958

Rosy Fruit Cocktail Slices. To be served with mayonnaise and celery seed dressing. There's a cup of heavy cream and cream cheese in this bad boy. But there are cherries on top so surely that will entice the masses.
Sparkling red AND white fruit mold is served TWO ways! Take a wild guess what makes the bottom layer white. I think one way might be too much. Imagine the pink slimy sludge and fruit chunks left behind after this has been sitting for a while. Don't forget the red currant dressing.

Spicy Golden Apricot Molds. Perfectly molded blobs of orange strategically placed on a large mass of lettuce leaves.Peeking out from under these orange but apricot flavored molds are slices of jellied cranberry sauce!! Sneaky! That yellow brain looking thing is Sweet-Sour cream dressing. Yum?
Why conform to something so so bland as stuff place between two slices of bread and eaten with hands when there is a "SALAD SANDWICH"? The wit befuddles me. Throw a couple of cans of grapefruit sections, lemon gelatin, cream cheese, milk, atop a bed of walnuts and lettuce. No, I'm not seeing how this is a sandwich either. In modern days, this would be a type of bar dessert. But darn it, they were "different" when this recipe was created. Different is not always better.
As per the caption because I cannot come up with something half as creative: Cool Green Beauty. Here's a glamorous partner for a sliced ham platter or fried chicken. Pineapple in Emerald Wreath!! It would be nothing without that hearty bowl of mayo in the center. Exactly how does one dollop mayo over jello without the two sticking and someone ending up with mayo splatters, causing the mayophobe to gag?
Really, I think BHG ran out of ideas when they came up with the name "Pineapple top layers". Imagine for a second the potluck invite "Hello, Esther. I would love to come to your party on Saturday. Would you like me to bring my famous pineapple top layers?" Maybe it made more sense in 1958. Note it does not say that it will please the crowd. It's just designed to serve the crowd. Such doublespeak!
Like Sukiyaki in nearly every cookbook I own, there's no way a cookbook would be complete without a tomato aspic. This is no exception. Only this is an old-time tomato aspic with celery leaves, diced celery, cloves, brown sugar, onion in the recipe. A bowl of mayonnaise is a must and it does not make the situation better. Plop.
I'm taking a side road here. Notice how sad the oil and vinegar is looking at the salad? It's almost like they don't want to be wasted on it.
Pears and green peppers together? Who would have imagined? Obviously nobody. Those crafty pears are hiding creamy cheese balls.
Greens, foliage, tomatoes, cucumbers everywhere and this poor bunny can't eat them because he's ceramic. Very mean!
Molded salads! Chock full of everything and nobody in this day and age will even attempt to try them. Sure some might go to a potluck and spoon some of that potato salad mold onto their plates to appease the 80 year old lady who has consistently brought it as her special dish to all gatherings. She's probably happy when all that is left is a runny white water on the bottom of her glass tray. A cup of coffee makes it a meal.
Another variation on a perfection salad and another head scratch on what makes this perfection.
Chicken Salad in raspberry ring. Would those even taste right together? As a self proclaimed mayophobe, I wouldn't give this the time of day. Maybe I am missing out on something special. Oooh pink..Lots of pink. Pink, pink, pink, pink, blue plates.
The description says it all. Everything but how horrid a ham loaf would actually taste. Just to imagine the wet, squishy sound it makes when unmolded. The smell of boiled eggs and mayonnaise lingering in the air. I'm breaking out in a cold sweat.
Or try ham this way with a Party Ham Ring as a picture of good eating. Sour cream adds a piquant flavor, ham adds heartiness, celery, green pepper, and onion add crispness! Not at all my words. Not even close to what I was going to add. There's nothing in the book on what that blob in the middle is. My guess would be mayo. A yellow, scary, mayo.
Cheese Aspic peaks would not be where they are today if not for the mayonnaise and perky pimento atop. I would hate to see what a sad pimento looks like. Let's keep it perky.
I don't even need to make captions or add my spin. BHG is making my day easy. Shrimp-Lime Double Decker is a high and handsome that holds shrimp in tomato aspic, and cottage cheese in lime gelatin. Pass chili sauce and chived sour cream. This is when the polite "no thank you" hand gesture would be appropriately used.
Lemony Salmon Tower. Lemon gelatin sitting above a 12 ingredient gelatinous mess that could only be described as a disaster. Yes, lemon and fish go together pretty well. If it is fish with squeezed lemon. Not two 1 lb cans of red salmon drained and broken in pieces with cooked peas, cucumbers, green peppers and an UNPARED cucumber. I will give credit on the artful arrangement.
First glance would be a white brain with prions. Second glance says the same thing. Third glance, yep. Verdict is in: White brain with prions.
Seashell ice ring. It doubles in keeping this mold from bleeding and a deterrent to that greedy guest who just so happens to have a shellfish allergy.
Rye-Pie sandwich. The idea for this is to cut it into dainty little wedges and let your guests watch! Imagine the smattering of applause, the giggling, the high fives abound as you cut into this ring of sophistication.
 Seriously, I could have scanned the entire book. There is just so much going on in there. 

Until next time!!!


  1. I lurvs the whipped lemon jello/cream cheese paired with lime green jello/pineapple ~ my mom used to make that and it is tres fantastique!

  2. Oh my god!! I love salads but this has completely made me lose my appetite - good thing since it is past midnight and I was about to devour caramel ice cream ... But seriously all this gelatin and jello and mayo and cream cheese ... sounds horrible!!! What happened to lettuce, avocado, tomato, heart of palms and corn with a little drizzle of olive oil?? I wonder if some restaurants still serve this kind of food ... do you know?

    1. They are callled a "terrine" in today's culture. I'm glad I was not alive to eat this! I'm trying to imagine myself as an infant grabbing fistfuls of gelatin flavored with mayonnaise and cream cheese. Shudder.

  3. You had to be there for the 70s Tupperware parties, and Tiki parties. Aspics, fondue, toasted bread cubes, deviled eggs, yum, yummy, and yum! My mother had this book. I loved looking through it. Just looking, mind.

  4. Totally explains why Baby Boomers' parents developed heart disease!!! eee-yuk!!!

  5. i have to admit ...i secretly love molded salads, collect salad molds (again, secretly), and love making them....

  6. Oh my some look so disgusting. But apparently you didn't grow up with congealed salads. Ours were very appetizing. These are the rejects! My "Mom" made a congealed salmon salad. Her daughter said disgusting and even the dog wouldn't eat it.