The Salads Of Yore

12 Jul

Apparently Spain blissfully missed the days of Jello salads. In the comments yesterday for the blueberry pasta, lobstersquad in reference to the mentioned “salads,” questions: “the jelly salads ?!?!?”. I turn to another one of my old cookbooks for an example. The Big Valley Amish Cookbook, published in 1979, has 26 salad recipes in it. Of those 26 only 7 do not contain either Jello, instant pudding mix, mini-marshmallows or whipped cream! And most of those contain either mayonnaise or bacon, or, well, both! Here’s the recipe for my favorite (the picture is not of this salad, it is what I imagine the salad would look like):

Ribbon Salad – by Lois & Emma Zook

3 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese — 1 c crushed pineapples — 1 box red or orange Jello — 1 c whipped cream — 16 oz. marshmallows — 1 box Lime Jello.

Mix Jello with water like usual, then pour 1/2 of it in bottom of cake pan. Let stand til set. Now mix cheese, marshmallows and other half of Jello. Melt this together. Let stand til set.

Now add 1 c whip cream and drained pineapple, mix and put on top of green Jello. Then mix the red or orange jello and put on top when cool.

Boy have our ideas about cooking changed on this one! So, 30 years ago, Jello + fruit + cream cheese = no guilt good for ya salad eating, but I bet they were still debating about lobsters! (see below)

Photo of the Red And Green Holiday Mold courtesy of Kraft Foods


10 Responses to “The Salads Of Yore”

  1. Marianne July 12, 2006 at 9:51 pm #

    You know, whenever I’ve had to explain the very American phenomenon of Jell-o “salads” to a non-native, I’ve found it easiest to relate it to the French fascination with aspic. Because isn’t an aspic a kind of bastardized salad? Sure, we colonists took it one (or more) step further by adding sweetened gelatin, cream cheese, pretzels, pineapple, whatever…to it, but the idea remains the same–suspending things that would be better on their own in gelatinous goo. Mmm. Goo.

  2. lobstersquad July 13, 2006 at 9:15 am #

    Wow! What a whole new undiscovered world! Thanks for explaining.
    I found an old Spanish cookbook last easter, and was fascinated by the really odd fifties stuff, but we seem to have gone by without Jello.

  3. sher July 13, 2006 at 6:38 pm #

    I never saw a Jello salad until I moved to the Midwest. Oh, I’m sure there are parts of the South where they eat them. But, I had never seen them until I was 14 years old and we moved to Illinois. I still can’t eat them. They just seem so….wrong. But, members of my husband’s family don’t think it’s a holiday meal without them. Just one of those things.

  4. Julie July 13, 2006 at 10:51 pm #

    When I first saw the picture I thought that you’d made a jello salad for illustration purposes. I was impressed.

    I’ve just learned of the existence of a pretzel-jello salad which I am immediately nominating for WORST JELLO SALAD EVER. Who comes up wth these things?

  5. Annaliese July 14, 2006 at 12:39 pm #

    My sister and I are obsessed with this jello salad my mom makes which involves, get ready, the following ingredients:
    green jello
    cottage cheese

    Yes, you read all those ingredients correctly. The crazy thing is that it’s really delicious. It comes out all creamy and green and the walnuts give it a nice crunch and the horseradish, I guess, gives it a little “zing” as my mom would say. We’re not even from the Midwest, I swear.

  6. michael July 14, 2006 at 9:05 pm #

    Many, many people still eat these salads. There’s a grocery store in Madison, Wisconsin, with a fridge case filled with them. I had some served at a wedding reception in Michigan a few summers ago. And as evidenced by Sher’s and Annaliese’s comments, many moms and grandmas continue to make them. They can be good. Just because they’re jellied doesn’t make them gross. But the flavor combinations do often sound preposterous.

    That picture is pretty, btw. I would gladly eat that.

  7. ann July 15, 2006 at 10:07 am #

    Michael your comments made me laugh!
    I have absolutely no problems with Jello salads, I was simply presenting this as a PSA for our good Spanish friend lobstersquad who had missed this wonderous era in American eating
    Annalises salad sounds frighteningly delicious… kinda like that frozen horseradish cranberry sauce that they feature on NPR every year around Thanksgiving: odd, but delicious
    This whole post came out of the research I was doing for the vintage cookbook editorial feature I’ve been doing. In old cookbooks, there just aren’t that many salads!
    Maybe next time, I’ll feature a real Jello salad ;-)
    Happy weekend ya’ll!

  8. faith July 20, 2006 at 8:44 pm #

    I am an admitted sucker for Jello salads. Like the sweet ambrosia thing that is ubiquitous at family gatherings – teeny colored marshmallows in Jello with whipped cream and canned oranges and coconut. As long as they don’t get too weird, there will always be something nostalgic for me in them.

  9. patti September 19, 2006 at 4:15 pm #

    Julie had said she’d heard of a prezel jello salad, and nominated it for worst jello salad ever. It’s actually one of our big family favorites. The crushed pretzels taste like salty pecans, and the strawberries & cream cheese all blend together to make an outstanding dessert. Sounds like she denounced it without trying it.

  10. white trash peg December 22, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    I agree with Faith. That pretzel jello salad is absolutely delicious. It’s got a crunchy salty-sweet crust and a really rather tasty strawberry cheesecake-like topping. It’s good with raspberries also

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