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Remember that the elephant is only for decoration – you cannot eat it.
August 16, 2013 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Bad Jelly. Trying retro recipes so you don't have to. (Some images involving fruit may be NSFW. )
posted by louche mustachio (52 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why on earth would they eat the elephant?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


For science!
posted by louche mustachio at 10:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking: a step by step guide to the world’s best cooking, 1980

That's weird, I didn't know recipes like that were still being published in the 80's. I always thought that was pretty much a postwar/50's-era thing...early 60's at most.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:44 AM on August 16, 2013


Also - if you like this, check out the Gallery of Regrettable Food for more chuckles.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:51 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why on earth would they eat the elephant?

Because of a desire for cold, oily bread?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2013


We then needed to make the accompaniments, and were momentarily thrown by the fact there were no recipes provided for the pink and green piped eggs next to the ham mousse. But no matter. We decided we had enough Bad Jelly experience under our belts to guess the ingredients, and so mixed together mayonnaise, cream cheese, flour, water, cream and food colouring to create something that looked good even if it wasn’t edible.

The photo indicates that they did NOT remove the yolks and mix them with other ingredients; they just piped cream cheese and... flour on top of the yolk. Baffling. Do they not have deviled eggs south of the equator?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, the instructions should have read "you should not eat it." Clearly you can, because someone did (to their sorrow, evidently, but still...). Heck, you could even eat a real elephant, if you had enough time.

And were a goddamn monster.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:56 AM on August 16, 2013


When I was a kid I used to love carrots grated into lemon Jello.

DON'T JUDGE ME!
posted by BlueHorse at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Be Bold with Bananas, and, in fact, the phrase "banana candle," really needs a crosslink to the slang for genitalia FPP....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm crying from laughing so hard.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2013


“Say, is that a banana candle I see on the table?”
“Sure is, Granny Ethel – bet it’s a while since you’ve seen one like that!”


Oh lordy...
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, the prawns one though. I am awarding them a million gold stars for not just excellent presentation but actually eating prawns in prawn jelly. And the, um, banana meatloaf. Banana meatloaf.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2013


Cucumber And Beer Soup, as an April Fool's Day joke? Now that is some pretty black humor.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2013


Also, Be Bold with Bananas, and, in fact, the phrase "banana candle," really needs a crosslink to the slang for genitalia FPP....

Next up we'll be doing the French Miss Steak.
posted by hal9k at 11:22 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is great. The ne plus ultra of bad recipe snark is still Wendy McClure's shit-your-pants-funny Weight Watchers Recipe Cards series (with commentary). Seems like Wendy made a bunch of those monstrosities when she went on her book tour when the expanded set got published.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:31 AM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


This kind of stuff is hands-down my favorite thing on the internet. Streaming audio/video, forget it. E-books, nah. The ability to look up a horrible movie I saw in 1978? Well, that comes close, but this still beats it.
posted by JanetLand at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "Why on earth would they eat the elephant?"

Because it's in the room?
posted by Samizdata at 11:47 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lovely. Not so much. Reminds me of the Gallery of Regrettable Food, but more current. I do wish they would share the horror with the recipes though.

Really helped me pass the time while waiting on this.
posted by Samizdata at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeesh. I'm reaching for the Tums just looking at the photos!

I recall seeing this kind of stuff in lots of magazines back in the day. Lots of Loaf and Jelly type items. It always looked incredibly unappetizing and I would wonder who would make that kind of thing.

I'm glad brave souls tasted some of those to confirm my photographic nausea; now I don't ever have to taste 'em!

Capers anyone?
posted by CrowGoat at 11:49 AM on August 16, 2013


Oh my gosh, I love this!
posted by windykites at 11:51 AM on August 16, 2013


Also related: Making Light on Candle Salad, aka banana candles, and related cooking.

Shredded carrot and jello actually sounds fine to me (and I'm not even from a background that likes Jello/jelly). Carrots are sweet and mildly crunchy and the textures work together.
posted by pie ninja at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2013


windykites: "Oh my gosh, I love this!"

No, so sorry. I can't make it to your dinner party. The doctor says I have to have...something...removed that night. Maybe next time?
posted by Samizdata at 11:54 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you've always wondered who would make that kind of thing.
posted by steganographia at 12:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I collect books full of this kind of amazing nauseating future-food. It's sort of a hobby.

My wife won't let me cook any of it though.
posted by pipeski at 12:14 PM on August 16, 2013


DirtyOldTown, I am snort-choke-laugh-crying at my desk. I can't decide if Polynesian Snack or Snack on a Stick is my favorite.
posted by coppermoss at 12:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Mid-Century Menu also makes these recipes. And tests the results... with photos. I love high camp, and am fascinated by the sheer WIERDNESS of mid-century western food. If you're interested in social history, check out the books Perfection Salad and Something in the Oven by Laura Shapiro, which explain, intelligently and entertainingly, the well-intentioned path to how we got there- and why we ate it when we did! It was good intentions all the way - boot-strapping women up to academic parity and co-equal respect with the dudes -if women were to be stuck in the home, we'd make the home a subject of serious scientific study, by gum! And voila - we had nutrition as a popular science. How we got from THERE to deep-fried elephants...
THAT'S the real story.
posted by tabubilgirl at 12:59 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are still parts of the country and social niches where people cook this way.

The worst dish I ever had was "One Flies Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Coconut Walnut Surprise Salad (c. 1991, so long after the 1960s-70s Peak of Regrettable Food)

I don't know what it was really called. Technically ambrosia salad. The psychiatric nurse on the ward where I was a patient* thought it would cheer the patients up if she brought in a salad that included sweet shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, chopped apricots, shredded cabbage, mini marshmallows, mayonnaise (ugh!) and mandarin orange slices, the kind that come in a can. It was not pretty.

*Depression.
posted by bad grammar at 1:01 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


And if you want maximum giggles, go read Fashionable Food: 7 Decades of Food Fads, by Sylvia Lovegren. I based my christmas party around this book - the cherry tomatoes stuffed with mashed smoked oysters were a hit!
The Bomb Shelter Chocolate- Cherry Cake Delight was a huge hit!
(Or would've been, if anyone had dared taste it.)
I also dipped into my own collection of mid-centry Australian recipes and the cherry tomatoes stuffed with mashed smoked oysters really MADE the night. Honestly.
posted by tabubilgirl at 1:02 PM on August 16, 2013


So many quotable passages. Giggling helplessly at work.

Even if the writing weren't so great, it'd be worth it just for Kirby.
posted by mykescipark at 1:13 PM on August 16, 2013


I don't know what it was really called. Technically ambrosia salad. The psychiatric nurse on the ward where I was a patient* thought it would cheer the patients up if she brought in a salad that included sweet shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, chopped apricots, shredded cabbage, mini marshmallows, mayonnaise (ugh!) and mandarin orange slices, the kind that come in a can. It was not pretty.

Wowwww.

But, you know what? I've had a version of this called Watergate salad that is really not bad at all. No, really! NO I SWEAR
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, Watergate salad is lovely (and I haven't even seen it since I left the midwest, I don't think--how sad). Ambrosia salad is even pretty good. It's the cabbage and the mayonnaise in this Cuckoo's Nest version that sound like ravings of a madman.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2013


There are still parts of the country and social niches where people cook this way.


Oh yes. I have seen quivering abominations that I thought were long forgotten in the pages of old cookbooks, covers faded with time and stained with Godonlyknowswhat, served as .. um.. "party fork food" within the past couple years, in earnest and for serious by people I didn't want to upset. Some of them were blood relatives.


It was very awkward.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:38 PM on August 16, 2013


I also just keep thinking Kwanzaa cake.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:40 PM on August 16, 2013


In a small holler in West Virginia, there lives a grandmother who still puts all of her salads and meats into jellies. That small holler is beautiful and green, and that grandmother is my boyfriend's grandmother, and she is very dear to me. And that holler is home to babbling creeks and wildflowers and friendly mutts and charmingly delapidated barns, and I often think of visiting. But I will not go to that holler, no.

For they put their meats in jellies there, and their salmon is always mousse.
posted by pineappleheart at 2:02 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Where I was growing up, this was called "lady food." Lady food meant any non-dessert item with raisins, Jello, marshmallows, sweetened mayonnaise, or mandarin orange slices. Often all of these were involved. It was served at ladylike affairs, and you were expected to pick at it. The women in my grandmother's generation seemed to like it, but the women in my mother's generation merely endured it, and I can hope that it is now dying out. I was last faced with it about ten years ago, when I gamely took a slice of opaque green Jello salad from a kindly old lady who was recently bereaved.

Only reading Perfection Salad and other such books allowed me to appreciate that the ladies who invented lady food at the turn of the century really believed that they were doing the world, and women, a service.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:21 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


We were invited to a party when all the "Impeach Clinton" stuff was going on. My husband invented "Impeachmint salad". It consisted of canned peach halves in peach jello with chopped fresh mint. It was good, and everyone laughed.
posted by mermayd at 2:22 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


My mother still makes a jello salad for every family gathering. I love jello salad! It's better than hummus, and I say that as a person who likes hummus. She only makes the sweet kind though, I've never had a savory jello salad except the kind with carrots in it.
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:55 PM on August 16, 2013


Oh man. I can't wait for an opportunity to use "banana candle" in bed.
posted by kavasa at 3:24 PM on August 16, 2013


Careful, kavasa - maraschino cherry stains are hard to get out of linens! So I've heard
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:29 PM on August 16, 2013


For one of the family pot-lucks this summer, the theme was "something you've never brought to one of these before" and I made a jello salad as a joke. Much to my horror, everyone liked it so much that now I have to make it again at the Christmas pot-luck, for 50 people. Never mind that it's a pain in the arse to make - sometime between now and December I need to acquire 4 more jelly molds. FML.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 3:49 PM on August 16, 2013


Can someone explain what about a "jello salad" makes it a salad, exactly?

Only upon reading Countess Elena's comment have I learned that some people don't consider these things desserts.
posted by yohko at 3:52 PM on August 16, 2013


My mother actually calls hers "jello mold" not salad, which sounds worse. Because you make it in a mold. We always eat it as a side dish not a dessert.
posted by interplanetjanet at 4:16 PM on August 16, 2013


Can someone explain what about a "jello salad" makes it a salad, exactly?

"Salad is a popular, ready-to-eat dish made of heterogeneous ingredients, usually served chilled or at a moderate temperature."
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:18 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jello salad fails on the "popular" criteria.
posted by yohko at 4:47 PM on August 16, 2013


I realized this thread was missing something: Wanda's Macaroni Salad.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:53 PM on August 16, 2013


The thing that makes the jello salad a salad is that people serve it as a side dish next to meat. Sometimes it is green like a salad.

the ways of white people are strange and mysterious
posted by elizardbits at 5:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


But sometimes there is MEAT IN THE JELLO. MEAT. INSIDE. OF. IT.


the ways of white people are strange and mysterious

you don't even know the half of it.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:50 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Countess Elena: that video is something else. Dunno what, exactly, but I don't think it's salad. Perhaps with jello?
posted by ninazer0 at 9:38 PM on August 16, 2013


> But sometimes there is MEAT IN THE JELLO. MEAT. INSIDE. OF. IT.

You act as if you've never opened a can of SPAM before.
posted by davelog at 10:24 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just now gave that a good hard thought and weirdly enough... I have never opened a can of SPAM before.

I thought I did once when I was 18 and we didn't have any food but then I remembered the guy who shoplifted the SPAM from 7-11 was the one who did the honors. I found it grotesque, but I was very hungry. I disliked it enough that I stopped eating and vowed never to repeat the experience. Major texture violation.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:28 PM on August 16, 2013


I'm having flashbacks to my paternal grandmother's prized recipe for beef tongue in tomato aspic. Bleargh.
posted by Lexica at 11:11 AM on August 17, 2013


Countess Elena: "I realized this thread was missing something: Wanda's Macaroni Salad. "

And I had forgotten about this.

I thought royalty was supposed to be kind to the common people.
posted by Samizdata at 2:05 PM on August 17, 2013


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