Tropical Meat Salad

Posted on Apr 15 2009 - 9:58am by RetroRuth

meat-recipes-cover001Welcome to the weekly Mid-Century Menu, where my adventurous husband and I cook and eat an “interesting” recipe we find in my collection of vintage cookbooks.


Sorry for the lack of enthusiasm, but last night’s dinner was…interesting to say the least.  I think it has ruined my love affair with pineapple. We eat tons of pineapple in this house, and drink mostly pineapple orange juice, but this morning when I saw there was leftover pineapple in the fridge, I bypassed it for a bunch of grapes instead.  A first for me.

And Tropical Meat Salad is to blame.

The recipe for this nastiness came from Meat Recipes for the Family “Chef” published by the fine people at the National Livestock and Meat Board (Sounds delicious!). Chef, of course, being in parenthesis because, really, what woman could ever be a real chef?  (Insert derogative masculine laughter here.)meat-recipes-002a

Well, no one is going to be a chef using recipes like these.  But I digress.

Here is a black and white picture from the cookbook showing us how fantastic this recipe could be if you really wanted it to. There is also a complete menu, which I found to be really interesting pairings with a salad. Potato chips? Strawberry Shortcake? Oookayyy….

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the menu suggestions until we were actually making the recipe.  Next time I will be sure to use the whole menu, and not just the main course. And we will be cooking out of this book again, trust me.

While we were prepping the salad, Hubs and I were discussing where the inspiration for this recipe probably came from. We decided that one of the big shots from the Livestock Board, probably when on vacation in the tropics, had a salad with roast pig, fresh pineapple and plantains. He liked it so much that when he came home and he tried to explain it to his wife, waving his arms and saying, “I am pretty sure it had bananas in it.”  And his “chef”, rolling her eyes, threw a bunch of stuff together in a bowl, covered it with mayonnaise (because everything tastes better with mayo) and served it to him.  And here is the result.


Ok, first of all: Bananas? BANANAS!?!?! With mustard and mayo. Yeah, that sounds good.  I can understand ham (not lamb, blech!) celery, mustard and mayo.  I can even let the pineapple go. But bananas. Yuck.

But, as always, Hubs was game, so off we went. meat-salad-009The ingredients prepped and ready to go. I could have used that ham for soup, but oh no.  I had to do this with it. Sigh. meat-salad-011Bananas covered in celery. Yum.meat-salad-012The ingredients all together.  It took me a while to actually mix.  I was using taking a picture as an excuse, but I was reluctant to actually take that last step.meat-salad-015Ok, now we are mixed.  It doesn’t look too bad in the picture, but in fact a strange thing had started happening to the bananas as soon as they met the mayo.  They got this strange, slimy texture, and it didn’t go away.  They started giving off some kind of goo that made the mayo stretch out in strings as I lifted up my spatula from the main salad mass, almost like melted cheese on a pizza. It was disgusting.  Hubs was standing on the sidelines, laughing at my squeals of disgust.meat-salad-018

The final salad, plated and ready to eat. We left out the olives and the walnuts.  At this point it just would have been a waste. meat-salad-022Hubs gleefully eating the result.  You know, I am starting to think he is actually enjoying this.

The verdict: Terrible

Just like Eggs Oriental, this salad had something just wrong with it.  The combination of bananas and mustard was terrible, and every time I put a bite in my mouth I was reminded about just how horrible it was. The salad itself would have been fine without the bananas, but their addition made it a Mid-Century Horror. The bananas began turning the salad into mush from the moment I mixed it together, until became almost like eating oatmeal with ham chunks in it. And it all combined to leave a taste in my mouth that lasted for an hour after we had finished eating.

But Hubs was starving, so:meat-salad-028

All clean.  He looked a little sick when he was finished, but he ate it. I wonder what is going to happen when Hubs isn’t training for a race….


This post is in Food on Fridays!  Click the button to see the lastest party!

This post has also been submitted to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesdays party. Although I don’t know if this qualifies as tasty!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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13 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sara in AZ April 15, 2009 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Your pics of ‘Hubs’ grinning ear to ear, with a heaping spoonful of your freshly made mid century meal, are HILARIOUS!!!!! I am staring to wonder if the people who put most of these recipes together in the 50’s ever really tried any of them at all??? Maybe some poor chap was assigned the lowly task of putting together this cookbook for the ‘National Livestock and Meat Board’ and he just threw together whatever came to his mind (like celery and bananas?!?) without even really trying it? Who Knows… Stringy Mayo, sounds delish! 🙂 Maybe next week will be better??? Hopefully…………

  2. RetroRuth April 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Ha ha! Sara, that is exactly what Hubs said! He was looking over my shoulder while I was stirring and said, “There is no way anyone ever tested this recipe!”

  3. Tikimama April 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I can’t tell you how disgusted I am right now! Of course, being a vegetarian, I’m prejudicial from the get-go…but bananas and mayo and mustard – ack, ugh, blech!

    I think your hubby deserves some sort of award! I get a kick out of your photos, too!

  4. sablemable April 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    LOL, Ruth, you should have a cooking show, Ruth’s Retro Cookery or some other name!

    Actually, bananas go well in a Waldorf Salad, but with ham and mustard-mayo, yuck!

    BTW, where can I send you that Pillsbury Bake-Off sweet rolls recipe, Ruth?

    Happy retro cooking!

  5. 50s Pam April 16, 2009 at 9:41 am - Reply


  6. Sarah April 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm - Reply


  7. Sharinskishe April 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    I was thinking yum, yum until the bananas showed you their stuff!! I think this sounds good, but just leave out the bananas. And I would go with the Ham too.

    I’d probably add some shredded lettuce to the mix and some shredded or grated cheese.

    Your Hubby is a hoot!! What a great sport!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your talents with us. It is really fun to visit your cooking posts.


  8. RetroRuth April 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Hi sablemable! You can send the rolls recipe here: rkehm at . Thanks!

  9. RetroRuth April 17, 2009 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks Lisa and sablemable!

    Go on and laugh, Sarah! I am coming to your house next! 🙂 J/K. Glad you got a kick out of the post.

    Hi Shari! Thanks for coming by and thanks for the great feedback. It is nice to hear you enjoy the posts, and that I’m not choking down all this nasty food for nothing. 🙂 Ohhhhhhhh, I would have loved to add so many things or at least leave some stuff out of that salad. I had to resist the urge to correct the recipe so many times!

  10. sablemable April 18, 2009 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    10-4, Ruth! I’ll scan and send tomorrow (Sunday, 04/19/2009).

  11. Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam April 21, 2009 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Ok, since I decide what is tasty…you’re in because this was the tastiest post of the bunch. I laughed so HARD!! I love it…you are welcome to share your nastiest at any time because my blog is all about beauty AND bedlam, and this certainly counts. 🙂

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