Tuna Molded Vegetable Salad

Posted on Jul 20 2011 - 6:28am by RetroRuth

I can’t believe it. Tom and I are almost completely finished testing tuna recipes, our fridge is full of moldy, in-edible tuna leftovers and this is the third finalist in our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna Contest”!

Wow. Time really does fly when you are having fun!

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Everyone, let’s congratulate Heather on her entry of Tuna Vegetable Salad Molds!

Heather writes:

I tried to choose a tuna recipe from a vintage cookbook that was a favorite of my mother’s. It’s called the Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book, and was first published in 1954. It’s special to me in part, because my mom really, really didn’t like to cook, but she did so anyway (and well!) and this was one of a very small handful of cook books that she kept and referred to again and again.

Though not the only tuna recipes in the book (there was an…interesting… Tuna Curry as well), the two in the attached photo caught my interest. I’ve been fascinated with mid-century molded salads, and these are great examples. The first one, Molded Tuna Fish Salad is pretty typical of most molded salad spin-offs of Perfection Salad, right down to the lemon-flavored gelatin, but it takes a weird turn with the tuna and mayonnaise additions; not a good turn, but a turn, nonetheless. The recipe below it, Tuna Vegetable Salad Molds has more of an “ick” factor, in my opinion, however it might also be said to be the more straightforward recipe. Still… gelatin, cream of chicken soup, tuna and mayonnaise? Yeah. I don’t know.

Hope these are the sort of thing you had in mind. I can’t wait to see what everyone else submits! Keep up the good work on the mid-century menu; it’s one of my most enjoyable reads!

-Heather (MonsterAteMy)

Oh, and for the record, neither of these tuna recipes appeared on my mother’s menu, though we were occasionally subjected to a rather standard tuna casserole. I think some of the gelatin-love had worn off by the ’70’s!

Well, Heather, the gelatin-love never runs out here, so Tom and I were really happy to see your gelatin and tuna entry. Well, Tom more than me. For some reason he loves the ones made with gelatin.

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Yeah…that’s a lot of mayo for four servings.

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And here it is in action, melting into hot condensed cream of chicken soup!

The key here is condensed. Nothing was added to water down this stuff. Oh no.

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But, I can’t complain too much.  I finally had an excuse to break out my awesome individual Jell-O molds.

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Tuna, cucumbers, everything else and the kitchen sink.

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It’s always a plus when the food you are making looks like snot.

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Yeah, it doesn’t even look good from the side.

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Success!! The molds work!

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What can I say?? Perfect form aside, they really looked this bad. The photo does not lie.

And yes, that is a baby lobster molded out of tuna gelatin in on the back of the plate. I just couldn’t resist.

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Look into my lobster eyes…you feel yourself getting nauseous…so very nauseous…

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Getting his head in the game.

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Cheerful acceptance.

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Notice the look of disgust. The loosely dangling fork as he chews and swallows.

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“It tastes like mayo.”

“Well, there is a lot of mayo in it.”

“And lemon.”

“There is a lot of lemon juice in it.”

“And tuna.”

There is a lot of – ”

“Tuna in it. Yeah, I know.”

The Verdict: Pretty gross. It basically tasted like a really lemony, rich, mayo-y tuna salad without the bread. Eating it by itself was torture. We had to spread it on toast just to get most of it down. On toast, it wasn’t too bad, but since the recipe decreed that it should be molded and presented as a salad rather than being on toast that is how we are judging it.

Oh, and the tuna-baby-lobster still lives on in my fridge, wishing to be a real boy…

Come back next week to find out the final finalist (!) in the “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna” contest!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to 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 (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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

  1. Emily Catherine July 20, 2011 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I probably have some kind of problem, but I don’t think that looks that bad. I would probably try it, haha….

    What can I say? I love the experimental thrill of a molded salad!

  2. Heather July 20, 2011 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Oh I’m so sorry, Tom! What a trooper. I have to say, the molds looks better than I expected; not *good*, but kind of neat in an object-of-curiosity sort of way.

  3. Andrea July 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Tom looks like he’s having a hard time getting this one down – I don’t blame him!

    However, I loooooove your Jello molds, Ruth, those are awesome! I’ve never seen the metal ones around here, usually just the Tupperware ones.

  4. Meeem July 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Okay, so Carol thinks you have sunk to a new low and I think the molds LOOK great but I am sure they tasted bad. However, Dad might have liked this. What is Tom eating on Saturday?? We will join you!!!

  5. Emma June 15, 2012 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Made the tuna mold with unflavored gelatin and a dash of lemon juice. Added some capers too.

    Loved it… But then… I’d eat mayo on dirt

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