The Mystery of Disgusting Gelatin Recipes Solved!

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I noticed I got a lot of traffic yesterday from jezebel.com, so being curious I went to the site to find out why.  Turns out they had a blog post about one of my favorite subjects: revolting recipes!  And, someone was nice enough to link to my mother of all revolting recipes: The Liver Sausage Pineapple.

The best part about the post, besides the recipes involved (Corned Beef Jello Salad! Tic-Tac Pie! Tuna Twinkie Soufflé!) was one of the commenters explained why molded salads were so popular in the 50s and 60s, something I have pondered for a long, long time.

Before the postwar era, jelled molded foods were rare and special, as they required a long process involving grinding and boiling for hours of hartshorn(antlers) or isinglass(from the swim bladders of sturgeon and cod. Mass production and and a newly prosperous middle class led to the invention of prepared gelatin powder and home refrigeration, which is why molded salads and icebox cakes exploded in popularity in the 50s. Clearly, tastes have changed since then.

Hooray!  The mystery is solved!  (Except for the fact that they are still completely disgusting.)

jezebel.com:  The Most Revolting Dish Ever Devised

The Saddest Little Cookbook Picture

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There is something very sad and depressing about this picture from my 1972 Betty Crocker Make-Ahead Cookbook. Is it the sorry piece of “Hamburger-Onion Hoedown” with the burnt top and the dry and crumbly inside?  Is it the depressing looking pieces of carrots and celery that are supposed to constitute some sort of side-dish? Is it the sorry excuse for a plate – that could possibly really be a lid to a tupperware bowl?

You know this was the dinner of some lonely latch-key kid that her mom made three days ago because she wasn’t going to be home for dinner because she discovered women’s lib and wanted to go out and get a job and stuff, and decided that working in a crappy department store was more important than being a mom, becuase that was so, like, 50s and outdated. And dad’s at the bar down the street having a drink because he doesn’t do the cooking thing because that’s women’s work, or so that’s what his dad said, and his dad before that – and what the hell is up with this women’s lib stuff anyway?

Sorry li’l Hamburger-Onion Hoedown – buck up!

Mac & Cheese Stuffed Peppers

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There’s something strangely alluring about this fine recipe I found in my new 1965 Dinner in a Dish Cookbook.  It’s macaroni & cheese mixed with ham and stuffed into green peppers.  Maybe I’ve been staring at disgusting vintage recipes too long, but I think this sounds good for some reason.  A hell of a lot better than Jello & Tuna Pie!

I guess it’s all relative.

Yes, it’s a Tuna & Jello Pie!

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I never thought I would find a disgusting vintage recipe to top the famous Liver Sausage Pineapple, but dang if I didn’t find one that is just as repulsive – and maybe, just maybe –  a little bit more.

Voilà the “Summer Salad Pie” – a concoction listed as “pretty as can be” in my 1965 Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish cookbook.  Um, not so sure “pretty” would be the word I’d use to describe it, but I’m not a cookbook editor – so what do I know?  Basically this pie is made up of a lemon jello layer with tomato sauce, celery, olives and onion, in a cheese crust topped with tuna salad.  Yes, tuna salad.

Don’t get me wrong – I love tuna salad.  I just don’t love tuna salad on top of jello in a pie shell.  What is the fascination with gelatin?  Why must it be used in every other recipe in 1965?  Was Jell-O thought to be space-age?  Was it a favorite at Camelot? Were we using it to show the Commies who’s boss?

All I know is that this has got to taste like Barf Pie – summer or not.

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The Burger Beef Tiara!

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Something’s wrong here.  How can you have “Tiara” in your name, but be such a boring recipe?  It’s basically chili mixed with canned green beans with a ring of canned biscuits. Big fucking deal!  I feel I have been misled, Mr. Recipe Name Maker-Upper.

RIP: My Cookbook Collection

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Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about the incompetent plumber who supposedly came to do maintenance on our appliances and instead started a leak that ruined all my vintage cookbooks?  Well, I finally had a chance to go through them and figure out what’s what.  

Out of my collection of about 50 vintage cookbooks, about 20 of them are ruined and will have to be thrown away.  The only good news is that the two really old and rare ones I have, although damaged,  were spared enough to keep – my 1930 Fannie Farmer Cookbook and my 1945 Joy of Cooking.  The bad news is that most of the ones that were ruined were my Betty Crocker collection, which happen to be my favorites.  Most of them can be replaced as they are in plenitful supply out there, but two of them, my 1956 Picture Cookbook and my 1961 Picture Cookbook were in great shape and I am sad to lose them.

Did I mention the guy who did this is a dumbass?