Barbecue Bean Mold – A Mid-Century Gelatin Test

Posted on Mar 20 2013 - 6:31am by RetroRuth

Let’s see a show of hands: Who out there likes canned baked beans?

I have to admit that I do enjoy baked beans, even of the canned variety. And I can understand adding a few ingredients to a can of baked beans to perk up the flavor, which is very common in mid-century recipes. However, this is the first time I’ve ever “perked up” the flavor of canned baked beans with tomato juice and GELATIN.

Behold, Barbecue Bean Mold.


This recipe was submitted in our recent gelatin contest by Veg, aka Bob. And even though it is referred to as a “peppy salad” in the recipe description, I can’t imagine that it would taste like anything but baked beans.  It seems like the “pep” is all from lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Robert BBQ Bean

By the way, I halved this recipe because I couldn’t see Tom and I trying to choke down two pounds of cold baked beans.


I have to admit, by the time I started working on this salad I was pretty sick of gelatin, so Tom and I didn’t have a lot of witty banter going back and forth while we were making this. It was mostly just me sighing and Tom looking forlornly at the mixture of tomato juice and baked beans.


I perked up a little bit when I got to use my favorite gelatin mold.


I didn’t know how it would turn out with the chunky texture of this crazy thing, but it ended up not looking too bad.


If you ignore all the beans.

So many, many beans.


“Look at the all the beans in this thing.”

“It could have been worse. This is only half a recipe.”

Tom TastingIMG_9899

“Wow…that doesn’t look like it is good at all.”

“It tastes like baked beans.”

“Well, that’s not so bad.”

Cold baked beans.”


The Verdict: Cold baked beans

From the Tasting Notes:

The initial taste is rough, very tomato-y and strong. After that it just tasted like cold baked beans. Not totally disgusting, but not very good either. The whole things is sort of ridiculous and a waste of time because you could just open a can of beans and warm it up and it would taste better. But if you love cold baked beans and tomato juice, then maybe this is the gelatin mold for you!

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

  1. Beth March 20, 2013 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Well, it’s all in the presentation, and you aced that. If you forget that it’s gelatin holding it together, it’s really rather attractive (for what it is). It would certainly look right at home in any mid-century cookbook. Job well done!

  2. Eartha Kitsch March 20, 2013 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Yes, that one seems like a lot of effort just to have cold beans! It’s a pretty little something though!

  3. veg-o-matic March 20, 2013 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Ewww, you actually made it! I must say, I am not disappointed; it looks exactly as awful as I had imagined.
    You know, that recipe was on the same page as the infamous Spaghetti Subs (not to mention Peanut Grinder Salad and Hot Dog Shortcake, and let’s not.) So much fail in so little space. One wonders what the ladies over at Family Circle were smoking that day.
    Nice Tomface™, by the way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen his lip curled quite like that…

  4. Miss Whisk March 20, 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    God, poor Tom. That man is such a good sport. What do you do with the leftovers of these horrors??

  5. Patrick M. March 20, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

    It cracks me up that the entire thing is sitting in front of Tom in the pictures. It’s all yours,honey, ALL yours.

  6. Silvercat March 20, 2013 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I love how you always manage to find something nice to say about these recipes.

  7. Patti March 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    You could have put hot dogs or, better yet, Vienna sausages in the curves around the mold to make it a complete and quite fancy meal! 🙂

  8. tarynnicole March 20, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    It does look lind of pretty but…ewwww…hes a brave man!
    I have only just discovered this site and I’m loving your work! xx

  9. Sara In AZ March 21, 2013 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    I don’t know why, but this SO completely terrifies me!!!

  10. Meaghen January 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    This is not ok in any world.

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