Pineapple Olive Salad – Glistening And Jiggly Finalist #2

Posted on Jun 13 2012 - 6:04am by RetroRuth

Wow. I just…wow.

That’s really all I have to say about the next finalist. In my opinion, this is really the epitome of a bad gelatin salad. Is it possible to have a perfect worst gelatin salad? Do you say it’s “perfectly terrible”? Or that is the “perfect food storm”?

All I know is that this recipe was a pip.

And by “pip” I mean it was terrible.


Meet Pineapple Olive Salad. This jiggly abomination was sent to us by Angela, who writes:

Hello Ruth!

I have attached some photos from two of my grandmother’s old cookbooks that contain my entries for the gelatin contest. I could not choose between the two, so I’m leaving that up to you.
The first cookbook is entitled, "Maude’s Cook Book, 1939" and was compiled by The Council of Lincoln Terrace Christian Church in Oklahoma in 1939. The recipe I’ve chosen from this cookbook is called, "Pineapple and Olive Salad."

Happy Cooking!

pineapple olive Salad

You know, the one good thing you can say about this salad is that it never pretends to be something it’s not. It’s pineapple and olives encased in lemon Jell-O. It’s not fancy, or really edible in any way you can imagine, but at least it’s easy to make.


Well, I guess there are two good things, because I also got to use a mold that I’ve had forever and have always wanted to make a little fun gelatin design in it. 


Even if the design consisted of olives and lemon Jell-O.

Not so bad, right? Hey, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made.

At least there are no tongues in it.



So gross.


Only slightly less gross when unmolded. And the design mostly worked!!

Not, of course, that it makes it taste any better.


The look of complete disgust.

From the tasting notes:

Lemon. Olive. Pineapple. And it tastes like it.

Sweet, disgusting. Makes me want to gag. Gross in it’s simplicity.

The Verdict: Terrible.

Thank you, Angela, for sending us this horrible gelatin. 

See? I told you it was a pip.

And by “pip” I mean, able to bring out Tom’s disgusted face.

Good job, Angela. Good job. 

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

  1. Yinzerella June 13, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    But it’s so pretty!

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 8:35 am - Reply

      It’s the gelatin’s only defense…. 🙂

  2. veg-o-matic June 13, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Oh, man. I think this is the first time you could see the look of utter revulsion on Tom’s face even before he tasted the mess.

    Nice work!

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Veg!

  3. ae June 13, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Don’t think I could have even attempted a bite of this!

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      It was pretty bad. I don’t blame you!

  4. Angela June 13, 2012 at 11:50 am - Reply

    YES! The look of utter disgust before he even took a bite is painfully satisfying. Not that I *want* you or Tom to suffer, but the knowledge that this recipe was truly as vile as it sounded makes me happy in my heart. Thank you Maude, for including this deceptively simple recipe in your cookbook of horrors.

    That mold you used is really, really pretty. It’s a shame the actual “salad” looks like alien spoor.

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Oh Angela! You picked a winner with this one. It was a horror!

      And you don’t have to feel bad about enjoying Tom’s disgusted face. You are one of many who love to make Tom suffer. 🙂

  5. txitguy June 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Maybe the lettuce made a difference. Think Tom is up for a retry?

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Ahh! The lettuce!!!

    • Erica June 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Be nice to Tom, I don’t think lettuce could have saved this. I don’t think ANYTHING could have saved this! 😀

  6. Jenny (vintagesugarcube) June 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    Your hubster’s face is PRICE-LESS! I think the jello with the olives looks just dandy. And those plates? Lordy I’m Swoooning lady. 🙂

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Darling! I have to admit, the plates are some of my favs. 🙂 Too bad I can’t say the same about the Jell-O….

  7. Danielle June 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a strange combination. Also, the olives at the top give it a jello monster type quality.

    • RetroRuth June 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm - Reply

      It can seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!

  8. Zac June 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Why olives? Why do so many of these recipes try to shoehorn vegetables in?

  9. P'Gell June 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Oh, no. It’s looking at me!

    I showed my husband. He…. literally gagging. And thanked me for not having a mid-century menu blog. 🙂

  10. jeanine June 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    This made me laugh out loud. Such a pretty gelatin. Too bad it makes no culinary sense whatsoever! What were these people thinking????

  11. Tracy B March 18, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I came across a similar recipe yesterday when going through some of my grandmas old cookbooks. It is pretty similar to this recipe although in even more terrifying grossness it includes shredded american cheese in the mix and a hearty dollop of mayo on top of each piece. I have vowed to take it as my addition to the Easter gathering with my family. Cant wait for the horror show!

    • RetroRuth March 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      Yes! Please send me pictures!

  12. Jess August 31, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for doing this–I’ve been looking through your gelatin creations all day!

    I have a suspicion about this one, though, that it was meant to be made with UNSWEETENED lemon jello. You used to have to add your own sugar. That would have made those old fruit-jello-based salads full of savory ingredients seem a bit less revolting. This one still sounds pretty awful (olives and pineapple!), but at least it wouldn’t have been sweet.

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