Liver Pate En Masque – A Retro Gelatin Dare

Posted on Feb 22 2012 - 7:00am by RetroRuth

I don’t know why I do this to myself. I don’t know why I do this to Tom. I don’t know why Tom let’s me do this. All I know is that when Mimi (from 1972: The Retro WW Experiment), Yinzerella (From Dinner Is Served 1972) and Lexi (from After Apple Picking) asked me if I wanted to do a vintage recipe challenge involving gelatin, I said “yes”.

Yes!!!! Can you believe it???

Well, you actually can probably believe it.

At first, I thought everything would be okay. I submitted a recipe. We all giggled over email and Twitter. Mimi would tag things with #knoxapocalypse and we would all squeal in mock horror. Everyone else emailed me their chosen gelatin dish, and I drew random numbers and matched everyone up with a recipe.

And then it got real.


This is where things got off track. This is where things went wrong. This is where people got hurt after the fun and games. This is where I cooked up a bunch of liver and buttermilk and gelatin and put it in a blender.

This is Liver Pate En Masque.


Liver Pate En Masque
#14 Classic Adaptations
1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards

2 Envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup hot bouillon
1 pound cooked liver cut up
2 cups drained, canned French-style green beans
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp parsley flakes
2 tbsp wine vinegar
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp brandy extract (optional)
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp thyme leaves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
GLAZE* (see below for instructions)
Chicory to garnish
Radish slices to garnish
Sprinkle gelatin over bouillon in blender container. Add remaining ingredients except GLAZE and garnishes. Process at medium speed, until mixture is smooth. Pour into 1-quart mold. Chill until firm. Unmold and place on a flat platter. Coat with glaze. Chill.
Transfer excess glaze from platter to small pan. Place pan over bowl of warm water and stir vigorously until syrupy. Spoon glaze over liver loaf 3 or 4 times (or until all glaze is used), chilling until set after each coating. Garnish with chicory and radish slices. Makes 4 servings.

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup bouillon
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp onion salt
pinch salt
pinch pepper
Articficial sweetener equal to 1/4 tsp sugar

Sprinkle Gelatin over bouillon in small saucpan. Stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in buttermilk, mustard, onion salt, salt and pepper. Cool. Add sweetener. Chill until syrupy

I actually don’t think there are enough swear words in the world for this one. Seriously. This whole post could just be obscenity after obscenity and it wouldn’t even give you an inkling of what it was like to make this.

How’s that for drama?

Not good enough? Well, how about we show you some shots of cooking liver?



Actually, the cooking liver wasn’t the horrible part. It actually smelled pretty good, and I started to hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, this would all end up tasting like pate.

But then, like most things on this blog, my hopes were dashed spectacularly and thoroughly by one insane ingredient.


This is two cups of French-cut canned green beans. Probably the most disgusting canned substance on earth besides skin-on bone-in canned salmon.  (Tom’s note: I like canned green beans.  In my single days I was known to eat them straight out of the can for dinner… ah, memories.)


Do you see that? How they are pressed up against the side of the blender like worms trying to escape from a foam cup?  When you see stuff like that, it is always bad.


At this point, the smell coming off of this was horrendous. It smelled like rotten, vinegary liver. If you can even imagine that. Let’s just say you can’t even imagine how bad it smelled.


I probably should have blended it longer. There were chunks. I remember tears actually forming in my eyes as an especially large chunk glopped out of the blender and fell into the mold. I really, really didn’t want to eat this.


Oh man, look at the color!

Really didn’t want to eat it. Really.




Really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, didn’t want to.


“Really?” Tom was not a happy camper. “Is this it?”

“No. Not quite yet. It still needs glaze.”

“Glaze?!?! What the heck kind of glaze goes on this?”

I sighed. “You really don’t want to know.”


“It’s white! Why is it white??”

“Again: You do not want to know.”


I heaved a big sigh. “Okay, now it’s done.”

“What’s wrong with your eyes?”


“Are you crying?”

I sniffed. “No. Let’s just cut this thing and get it over with.”


“Will you stop pouring that white stuff all over everything!”

“It’s glaze, and it’s supposed to be on there!”


“I don’t know why I let you do this.”


“This is horrible.”

“Is it?”

He threw down his fork. “Yes. It tastes like liver and vinegar and something else disgusting.”

“Canned beans?”




“Low-fat buttermilk?”

“Yeah.” He shoved his plate away. “That’s it.”

The Verdict: Beyond terrible. Tom only ate one bite. ONE! And then I tried a bite. Then I spent five minutes running around the kitchen trying to find something to get the taste out of my mouth. Probably one of the only recipe tests that Tom was so disgusted by that he didn’t actually finish his serving! It was vinegary and pretty much tasted like liver, canned beans and buttermilk. NOT a good combo.

Want to find out how the other gelatin challenges went???? Check out:

Mimi’s Waikiki Whip

Yinzerella’s Jellied Veal

Lexi’s Shrimp Salad Surprise

WordPress Author Box

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

  1. Inky February 22, 2012 at 8:00 am - Reply

    You lost me at Liver. Thank you for using it in the title, I closed my eyes scrolling to the comments after seeing the first image in my feed 😉

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Ha ha, nice! Well, we are even then, because I kept my eyes closed for most of the “cooking” process.

  2. Toni February 22, 2012 at 8:10 am - Reply

    I would have cried, too. Sounds so, so …gross isn’t even enough. Unholy?

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 9:06 am - Reply

      Unholy. Yeah, I think that has a good ring to it. 🙂

  3. Rachel February 22, 2012 at 8:18 am - Reply

    This is so gross… just the color alone! blech… LOL I love your website… one of the most interesting I’ve read!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 9:06 am - Reply

      I know, right!!

      Glad you like the website, thanks so much!

  4. Yinzerella February 22, 2012 at 8:35 am - Reply

    LOL! That is GROSS. At every picture I went “oh!” “ew!” “no!”
    I do not envy you, darling.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Nope. Do not envy me. This one was a killer.

  5. Buzz February 22, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Yeah, gelatin meat dishes can be unspeakably vile, and liver isn’t likely to improve things. What were people thinking when they made these up?

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

      I have NO clue. And why the canned green beans?? Why?

  6. Patti Cannan February 22, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    I am so glad I found this blog! Really, really, really, really, really, really, really 🙂

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Ha ha! Hooray! Glad you like it, Patti! 🙂

  7. Tiara Bunny February 22, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Oh….my…..gracious. This is unspeakably awful! But I love love love your Salem Northstar china.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Thanks, Tiara! See…not all bad. 🙂

  8. Laura February 22, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Oh my god. I’ve been following Yinzerella’s experiments for months and this is just too much. The glaze looks like something out of that cooking with sperm book.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Lol, oh my goodness!

  9. veg-o-matic February 22, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Oh, man. This is easily the WORST thing you’ve prepared for this blog. Props to you and Tom for actually trying it; *I* wouldn’t have.
    That glaze! That execrable glaze. Words fail me.
    Tom must REALLY love you.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 11:17 am - Reply

      Yeah, I think we have a clear winner here! That glaze was…something all right!

      Yes, and I shamelessly take advantage of his love. 🙂

  10. Erica February 22, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I assume this was made by Weight Watchers on the general rule of thumb “if you can’t stand the taste of your food, you’ll eat less of it”…?

    I’m sorry to be laughing so hard at this, though. Poor you and poor Tom!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 11:18 am - Reply

      That’s kind of what I was thinking while I was making this, Erica. I mean, besides the “veg hiding” aspect, the taste was enough to make me want to skip dinner!

      It’s okay to laugh at us. We deserve it. 🙂

  11. Sara In AZ February 22, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Oh My God………………that is like the MOST insane recipe EVER!!!! ugh. How you even managed one bite I’ll never know. I’m sure the smell alone would have me barfing in seconds. eeks!!!!!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

      It was a close thing, Sara! Thankfully, there were no “chunks” of anything in my bite!

      • Sean February 22, 2012 at 11:45 am - Reply

        Wow reading the ingredients was a terrifying experience, but the photos – like watching a murder in slow motion…eeeekkk!!!

        • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

          Ha! It WAS pretty horrible!

  12. Mimi February 22, 2012 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Standing O, my friend. I have always dreamt of the day when I would see this recipe brought to life. Thank you for taking this on. I am in awe.

    By the way–there are so many more where this came from. The entire collection of 1974 WW Recipe Cards are horrific.

    Let me know if you ever want another cross-blog challenge. Although, something tells me you won’t be so easy on me next time 😉

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Mimi!! It means a lot, coming from the Queen of Vintage WW!

      I am sure there are just tons. You can keep them with my blessing.

      And I am totally down for another challenge, but we totally have to pick a new theme. Something where I DON’T have to cook liver!

  13. Eartha Kitsch February 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Damn yo….that’s HORRIBLE. I do think that your cats would have enjoyed it though. I hope you gave them nibs.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Well, one got nibs. The other slept and the fat one is on a special diet! 🙂 Ahhh…cats…

    • ebgill January 12, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Exactly, that’s what I was thinking….cat food (if you take out the wine vinegar).

  14. Colleen February 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Well, for one thing it was a Weight Watcher’s recipe. Their recipes from the 1960s and 1970s made some of the vilest concoctions known to the civilized world.

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Agree. Total WW’s 1970. In all it’s glory. I’ve seen some terrible stuff on Mimi’s blog…

  15. Andrea February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    OMG, I am so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so SO SO SO glad I am a vegetarian. This has to, without a doubt, be one of the most horrendous recipes you’ve attempted!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      One of these days, Andrea! You are going to come and visit me and I am going to feed you a gelatin with SOME sort of meat in it… 🙂

      And yes, it was horrendous!

  16. Meem February 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Honey, words can’t describe this bravery!!! Who cleaned this up?? did the cats like it?? If you put it in the back yard you would have gotten all kinds of critters back to haunt you!!! You never did like those stupid green beans and now I don’t either. Good Job!!!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Hee! Thanks, Meem! The trash can cleaned this sucker up. It did a great job, too. Eeks!

      And yes, canned green beans are disgusting!

  17. Silvercat February 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    At least it was unflavored gelatin?

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      I would give this comment 2 thumbs up, if I could. Yes, at least it was unflavored!!! 🙂

  18. Tasha February 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    AMAZING. Horrifying and amazing! I am so impressed that you made this, that it looked exactly like the Technicolor original in the photo, and that you dared to taste it. Kudos! 🙂

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Tasha! Glad it looked like the photo! I was so shell-shocked by making it that I forgot the radishes AND the chicory accents. 🙂

  19. Susan - Lise Vintage Lighting February 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Oh my heavens, I am a first time visitor and I am laughing so hard I can hardly type! Love pate, reading old cookbooks, and trying just about any food so I was game as I began reading. But I didn’t really sink in that both gelatin and liver were actually in the same recipe until I read it. Iknews hilarity or disaster would ensue by the ‘canned green beans…” I was laughing hysterically by the glaze ingredients, and that was all before the pictures, which were priceless. Honestly, I laughed until I cried!

    Seriously, a little pate goes a long way–like a smidge on a cracker. That anyone EVER thought a gelatinous slab of “glazed” organ meat would be appealing enough to eat with a fork truly boggles the mind… And makes me want to gag! One question–How will you EVER repay your good-natured husband..? 🙂

    Thanks for a great read and a great laugh! I’ll be sure to visit again!

    • RetroRuth February 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Susan! Glad you stopped by and glad you enjoyed the post!

      Yeah, a little pate goes a LONG way! And the real kicker to this is that this recipe makes FOUR servings. So you were expected to choke down a quarter of that horrible thing. Unbelievable.

  20. Mia February 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm - Reply


  21. Laura February 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Puke-tastic. I am old enough to have had a required home economics class in junior high, taught by a batty old lady whose lesson plan was horribly out of date and included a unit on, you guessed it, gelatin “luncheon entrees.” We made some revolting thing of lemon gelatin, canned corned beef, dill pickles, and celery, and it was frosted in mayonnaise. We all refused to have anything to do with it, let alone taste it. You were braver (?) than my home economics class!

    • RetroRuth February 23, 2012 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Wow! Frosted luncheon gelain! Wow! I am agog.

  22. roadsidewonders February 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    OOOOMMMMMGGGGG! This was the best! (Writing … not recipe). I was laughing and shivering with horror at the same time.

    • RetroRuth February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Thanks so much!! Glad you liked it. 🙂

  23. Barb in AZ February 22, 2012 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Just yuck..and for the record I love liver..but this is just..YUCK.

    • RetroRuth February 23, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Yeah, I don’t think it’s the liver that ruined this one…

  24. Zac February 23, 2012 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Urgh… maybe the radish and chicory garnish would have really brought it all together?

    • RetroRuth February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Yes! We can always hold out hope….

  25. Lexi February 23, 2012 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    You win the prize, fo sho. This looks so, so horrible. Big claps for you, dear Ruth.

    • RetroRuth February 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Lexi! Whew…this one was a tough one! 🙂

  26. Marlena February 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    I love that the only optional ingredient is brandy extract, when really brandy should be a required ingredient. Sixteen ounces in a separate tumbler, because you’d need to be wasted to eat this.

  27. Maggie February 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    ummmm how did nobody else comment on the “cooking with sperm book” comment. oh my….i had to google it. It does exist! DId everyone know this except for me??! That’s crazy. wow…seriously crazy. Someone really made a book. I have more googling to do…. also, liver is gross. The thought of liver makes me want to vomit.

    • RetroRuth March 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Oh Maggie… 🙂

  28. Lorie B February 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you once again for a seriously good laugh. I cannot imagine. Nasty is the only word I can think of. I believe this one even outdid the tongue thing you did a while back. Liver is so wrong, and with green beans?!?!?! The only thing this one was missing was the gelatin should have been LEMON flavored. That would have been the piece-de-resistance, as they say.

    And thanks Tom for taking one for the team!

  29. Stacey @ Feeding My Tribe March 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    This is hilarious…I laughed the whole time reading it.

  30. P'Gell April 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    The *color.* Oh, G*d, the color…

    I seriously was laughing so hard I had to put my lap top down and wipe my eyes. See? I was crying, too.

    Oh, Lord, the… color….

  31. Kate May 2, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I just found your blog, love it! This post made me laugh so hard I cried. I aughed so hard the dog got up fom his nap and walked over to see what is wrong with me. The expression on Tom’s face is priceless. What a trooper!

  32. The Homicidal Homemaker December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    This is frightening even to ME!

  33. navonod March 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Greetings from the great white north, eh?
    Your website is hilarious.. I saw a link off tumblr about Jello salad with ham and other things. This entry tops even that… positively revolting.
    At the thrift shop the other day, I found myself in the cookbook section and found one of the books you’ve featured (the “waterless cooking” corporate cookbook) and another gem from the 60s aimed towards dieters. Both have truly terrible sounding recipes, but still a great $2 investment. I should mention I’m a 31 year old male.

  34. Danee July 24, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply


  35. Betsy July 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I truly do not believe there is anything you could have done to make this look any better. Your descriptions of the avacado and honey dressing are spot on. Four words that don’t mix for me; avacado, heavy cream, honey, and mayonaise. I then made the BAD,BAD, mistake of clicking on the liver gelatin link. As much as I love looking and laughing at vintage recipes, this one literally made me gag. Makes me really wonder about the person who dreamed up this hot mess!!

  36. Seamus September 4, 2013 at 11:31 am - Reply

    This one keeps haunting me, it looks so bad! I still wonder why they had you blenderize it into some evil nutraloaf thing. Why not just say to serve sauteed liver with green beans on the side?

  37. Matt September 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    It could be renamed “Undertaker’s Surprise”….

  38. Nancy C Lea March 20, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Cannot begin to tell you how much I’m enjoying your blog entries! As to this one, well, whoever was coming up with the WWers recipes in the 70’s and some that showed up in the early 80’s must have been out to destroy mankind!
    Later cookbooks for the program actually have some good stuff. I made a “pressed chicken” from the old “International” cookbook and had everybody at work (we used to do communal lunches….it was a tapestry-weaving studio) was begging me to make it again..and again..and was, obviously, a big hit.
    But, those 70’s cooking ideas..”OMG” doesn’t even START to describe them! There’s a website somewhere with pages devoted to their recipe cards. I’m sure you must have seen it…something like “regretful food?”
    Anyway, keep ’em comin’!!!
    Best regards to your patient hubby!!!!
    Nancy C.

  39. Mifeng86 October 24, 2017 at 1:50 am - Reply

    Gross! It looks like drain sludge XD!

  40. J. Tavaris October 29, 2017 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Reading through that, with each ingredient I was like “OK, that’s weird, but maybe that could work” until I got to artificial sweetener and threw up my hands (and nearly the contents of my stomach).

    I collect mid-century cookbooks, but I won’t touch anything diet or microwave-related. There’s simply nothing there worth preserving.

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