The Top 10 Mid-Century Menu Posts For 2012 – Gelatin, Cake and More Gelatin

Posted on Jan 23 2013 - 6:10am by RetroRuth

It’s been a fun year on Mid-Century Menu! We’ve had cakes shaped like lambs, spaghetti poured on sandwiches and gelatin shaped like…well…everything. But with all the crazy cooking we did, 10 posts stood out as absolute reader favorites. So, here are the most popular posts for 2012!

10. Renalde Lamb Cake – The Eight Days of Lamb Cakes

Somehow, a rather random mention and quote in the Wall Street Journal resulted in tons of lamb cake recipes being sent my way. Which, of course, I tested right away. It was fun for me and even more fun for Tom, who got to cram down eight entire cakes, mostly by himself.


This little guy, even though he ended up looking like a sad, wet dog, ended up being the recipe that most resembled my grandmother’s recipe that I had been searching for. On top of that, it ended up being an amazing cake!


And Tom agreed.

If you missed out on my lambie cake adventure, you can read more about it here and listen to my radio interview here.

9. Lemon Jell-O Cake – The Second Place Best Winner in the Glistening And Jiggly Contest

We had the most amazing, super-fun gelatin contest this year, which really took over most of our lives for 2012. So much so that we are STILL posting tested recipes from it and will be for some time. And even though this recipe didn’t win first place in our contest, it is one of the most popular on the blog!


And I can see why it is popular! Look at this smile:



If you would like to read more about the gelatin contest, you can check it out here!

8. Pineapple Olive Salad – Glistening And Jiggly Finalist #2

On the flip side of the gelatin contest, we have the second WORST finalist coming out ahead in popularity.


Despite the blinding beauty of this salad, it was truly foul.


It was sweet and tasted like olives and pineapple. Which is NOT a good combo.

7. Spiced Lemonade – A Retro Recipe Test


How lucky am I? This year I got a box of fresh lemons mailed to me from Sara in AZ (one of my fellow writers over on No Pattern Required) and I immediately dug out a recipe for lemonade so I could use those bad boys.


And it turned out to be glass-draining-good!

6. Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole – The Church Lady Casserole Challenge

I was also lucky enough to participate in two really fun vintage recipe blog challenges, one of which was a Church Lady Casserole Challenge. I was randomly assigned Sausage Apple Noodle Casserole. I was one of the lucky ones.


It turned out to be a good, if slightly bland, casserole.


Which tasted strangely like a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg when we reheated it. Weird.

Note: This challenge also spawned an article that I wrote for Faith And Leadership called The gift behind the recipes in church cookbooks.

5. Frozen Valentine Rounds – A Retro Recipe Test

Everyone likes a fun vintage gelatin that is actually edible enough to be served to guests. I imagine that is why this pink concoction is so popular on the blog!


I mean, besides the fact that it is pink AND it has marshmallows in it!


I liked it and so did Tom, even if he did state that it tasted like “Salad Bar Goo”.

4. Spaghetti Subs – A Retro Recipe Test

Spaghetti Subs are kind of what this blog is all about. They sound insane. They look insane.


But somehow, in the end, they end up actually tasting okay. And we have a great time making and eating them.


Even if they did make a ridiculous amount of mess.

3. Fish Surprise Sticks – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

What do you get when you put fish sticks into corn muffins?


You get a surprise, that’s what. This is another recipe that was slightly nuts that ended up actually tasting okay. As a bonus, they weren’t as messy to eat as the Spaghetti Subs.


Tom’s Assessment: “Not too bad, if you don’t mind eating a corn muffin with a fish stick in it.”

2. Black Magic Chocolate Cake Made With Condensed Tomato Soup – A Retro Recipe Test

Easily the best recipe we made (and re-made) this year! And no, the fish stick thing didn’t make us too nuts to tell the difference between “good” and “bad”. This cake was actually good. Very, very good.


It was so good, in fact, that this is Tom’s new favorite chocolate cake and I am never to make a different one again.



1. Liver Pate En Masque – A Retro Gelatin Dare

It is very fitting for this blog that the best recipe of the year actually is less popular than the absolute WORST. And this one was by far and away the absolute worst that we made the entire year. It was horrible. It was disgusting. It had canned green beans, liver AND buttermilk in it.


This is the result of the other vintage recipe challenge I participated in. Somehow, I ended up getting assigned the worst one. And I was in charge of giving out the assignments! Explain that.

Anyway, this smelled, looked and tasted about as bad as it sounds.


This remains the only Mid-Century Menu dish of which Tom only ate one bite. One! That’s it.

That’s pretty bad.

So, I hoped that you guys all enjoyed reading this past year of Mid-Century Menu as much as we did making, testing and writing it. We are exciting to see what crazy stuff we cook up for 2013 and we hope that you are, too!

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

  1. Martha K. January 25, 2013 at 3:02 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness!!!!
    Speaking of Lambie Cakes…. it’s going to be Lamb Cake time again soon!

    • RetroRuth January 30, 2013 at 11:50 am - Reply

      I know, Martha! I am sooooo excited! This year I even have a bunny mold I am going to try out. 🙂

  2. Meryl February 1, 2013 at 11:42 am - Reply

    See, do you like the taste of liver normally? Can you conjecture if the liver pate… item… might be palatable to someone who really liked liver? I’m thinking about trying it just for my own entertainment, as my husband and I really love liver and I want to see how far we can go. D:

    • RetroRuth February 4, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Yep, normally we love the taste of liver and pates. This does NOT taste like pate. It tastes horrible. If you want something that tastes like a reasonably good chicken pate/spread but is still strange, you should check out the Chicken Ice Cream we made for the Glistening and Jiggly gelatin contest. That had a good flavor at least, even though the delivery in ice cream form was vile.

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