Aspic Supper Salad Challenge

Posted on Mar 9 2011 - 6:30am by RetroRuth

Well, we are bringing you a slight change from our regularly scheduled program. This week, we take on a dare.  Not a dare from a reader, or even from taunting or disbelieving family members.  Nope, this week the dare comes from CNN. 


Maybe not CNN as a whole, but definitely the Eatocracy blog.  Confident that daredevils and glory-grasping bloggers everywhere will hop on the bandwagon, Eatocracy editor Kat Kinsman has laid down an open challenge in the form of a salad. To be exact, an Aspic Supper Salad from the Silent Hostess Treasure book, circa 1930.


“As long as we can keep finding fun, festive vintage recipes, once a week we’ll post one and double-dog-dare our readers to blog about their efforts – with snapshots of the final product,” Kinsman boasts.

Well, that’s the kind of thing that Tom and I just can’t let go unanswered.


After all, we have eaten our share of truly hideous recipes since beginning this feature in 2009, including Spam in gelatin, stuffed eggs in gelatin and, horrifically, tongue in gelatin.

A little shredded cabbage in lemon gelatin is no problem for us.


And, I must confess, the temptation to show off was just too great.


And who could say “no” to a few extra readers?


Not me.  Nope, not me.


So, this fun aspic salad looks like it is a copycat of the classic Knox “Perfection Salad”, which was published by Knox in 1905.


It came from a contest, and was submitted by Mrs. John Cooke who won a sewing machine with her bit of classic culinary magic.


Perfection Salad was originally made with plain gelatin and is known for its base of cabbage.


Later recipes substituted lemon or lime jello, and various veggies including canned sauerkraut.  Ick.


This version is great because it uses FRESH cabbage.


And there are no onions. Onions + sweet gelatin = Really Disgusting! Always. Always. No exceptions. No matter how much vinegar you add.


The lunchmeat we decided to go with was all local, Koegel’s brand. Braunschweiger, of course, then olive loaf and macaroni and cheese loaf.

Yep, I said macaroni and cheese loaf!

Not sure what prompted me to use my fish mold for the aspic, but I must say I was very happy with the results.  Or, the results after I dressed it up a bit.


Meet punk rock aspic salad fish.


In my head I had originally planned a stunning underwater display with clever little sea creatures and plants made of lunchmeat and deviled eggs, but after I unmolded my fish I decided he just wasn’t fishy looking enough for me.


So I decided he needed a bigger fin.  Then a bigger tail. Then some bubbles.  Suddenly he took up the whole plate and took on a punk rock look. I chucked the undersea wonderland idea and went with it. It was really the only thing to do.


The punk rock fish nose. Featuring peppers, carrots, celery and cabbage, trapped forever. Like flies in amber.

Well, maybe not forever. Trapped just long enough for Tom to dig in.



“Eh. Tastes pretty good. Like salad in Jello.”

The Verdict: Good. Tasted like sweet and sour coleslaw, except the dressing was jelled. Which was a little odd, but not unpleasant. Behind Sunshine Salad, probably my favorite non-fruit gelatin.


Eatocracy bandwagon, here we come.

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

  1. Sylkozakur March 9, 2011 at 8:45 am - Reply

    CNN should just turn it over to you. You’re the expert in weird recipes from the past.

    • RetroRuth March 9, 2011 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Ha ha! Not sure if I am an expert, but thanks, Toni! 🙂

  2. Eartha Kitsch March 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    That was definitely your call to action! I like the fish shaped twist and macaroni and cheese loaf, who knew??

    • RetroRuth March 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Eartha! I was rather pleased with the fish myself. 🙂

  3. Jenny (VintageSugarcube) March 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    lOVE LOVE LOVE these photos. I secretly still love olive loaf sammies. Sooo enjoying your weekly updates. Keep up the Midcentury fabulousness. XOXO

    • RetroRuth March 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jenny! I still love olive loaf too, but vintage cooking introduced me to my absolute fav sandwich combo, liver sausage and cream cheese! I even made a convert out of Tom.

  4. Sara In AZ March 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Oh my, a gelatin shaped fish! I kind of love him!!! Maybe you should have added some mermaids and seahorses as decorations too! 🙂 Yay for it tasting good-ish! hee!

    • RetroRuth March 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      I knew you would, Sara! He’s your kind of guy… 🙂

  5. Andrea March 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Hee! Your fish really is punk rock looking, love his ‘hawk!

    I would have never ever guessed that this salad could possibly be edible, so this was definitely a surprising verdict!

    • RetroRuth March 11, 2011 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Andrea – I was surprised, too! But, I like coleslaw in pretty much any form, so maybe that is why I liked it… 🙂

  6. Tiara Bunny March 11, 2011 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I adore the Salem Northstar plate in the photo with the meats. I collect these. Keep up the good work!

  7. Miss RM March 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Chopped veggies in aspic always looks so darned pretty!

  8. Bob K February 8, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Oh my goodness. I am 50 years old, and these mold recipes bring back the nightmares of my childhood. I was raised in the deep south, and big church dinners were a part of my raising. There would be about 8-10 different molds out on the table, and a proud church mama behind each one dying to make sure I got some of each one. And a mother who would dare me to make a face or refuse any (that meant a double portion…”You will eat it, you will smile, and you will say thank you”). The worst I remember was a tuna mold inside a hollowed pineapple with mayonnaise on top and franks arranged like logs.

  9. Tallinheels September 10, 2016 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    One thing you might try is lining your mold with the gelatin-it should stick to it. Then when you unmold you have an Aspic coating!

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