Pickle Olive Jell-O – A Mid-Century Gelatin Test

Posted on Aug 7 2013 - 9:00am by RetroRuth

Sometimes, when something is really good or when something comes together just right or you have an epiphany, you say that you can hear the angels singing. I’ve always wondered: If something is really, really bad, can you hear the choir in Hell singing? Does Hell even have a choir? Do they even sing? Well, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that there is a choir of devils whose job it is to sing when things are really, really wrong, and when you look at this picture, you can hear the lonely song coming from that hellish choir.


And when they are finished singing, they will probably have to eat it.

Pickle. Olive. Jell-O.

This recipe is from Victoria, who submitted it during our Gelatin Contest last year. Victoria writes:

My Grandma, Agnes, (1888-1973) made this for Xmas when my Mom was growing up:

Package of green jello (Lime)

Green stuffed olives, sliced

Sweet Gherkin pickles, sliced

Make the jello according to package directions, mix in the olives and sweet pickles, pour into loaf pan, chill til set.

Grandma made this for the red and green-ness for Christmas! It actually doesn’t taste that bad..my Mom still makes it..


Tom peered over my shoulder the entire time I made this.


“So, is this all that’s going in it?”


“Just pickles.”


“And olives.”


“And that green Jell-O”

“You got it.”

“Oh, I got it, all right.”


“At least it’s pretty, right?”

”That slice of gelatin is NOT pretty.”


“What is that smell?”

“What smell?”

“The smell coming off of this thing. It smells like my grandparents’ basement.”

“You big baby. Just eat it!”

Tom TastingIMG_0320

“I’m pretty sure it tastes like their basement, too.”


“Actually, no. It’s not that bad. It’s just sort of…shocking. It’s a really strange combination. Tastes very 1950’s.”

The Verdict: Very 1950’s

From The Tasting Notes:

A really unusual flavor combination, but not terrible. It would pair well with cigarettes or maybe a nice pipe.

Seriously though, despite the looks of this thing, it didn’t really taste all that bad. Not something I would like to eat everyday, but definitely edible!

Thanks, Victoria!

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

  1. Yinzerella August 7, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

    It is a thing of beauty.

    • David August 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Hahaha! Lucky for me, I have “recipe radar”. I already know how good it is just by reading it, or looking at it!

  2. veg-o-matic August 7, 2013 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Pickle. Olive. Jell-O. Three words that should never occur within a paragraph of each other.

    I give Tom a lot of credit for eating this stuff, but he definitely gets extra points for tasting it after saying it smells like his grandparents’ basement. Wowsers.

    By the way, there is a choir in hell. They sing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XMy9WeI_fw

  3. Julia August 7, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Lime seemed like a strange pairing to me — I was picturing something more in the mustard category. And so, I went searching, and look what I found! Can you try this next? http://allrecipes.com/recipe/harry-family-mustard-mold/

  4. Charlotte August 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    LOL! Love the expressions on Tom’s face. Actually..if you used bread and butters instead of sweets..with the olives–sweet; sour; salty. Might not be bad.

  5. Poppy Crocker August 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I think I much prefer my husband’s family’s traditional red-and-green Christmas recipe: Sex in a Pan with pistachio for the pudding layer and maraschino cherries as the topper.

  6. Onyx August 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    I remember my grandmother making a version of this, only the olives had pimento centers, the pickles were dill, and the gelatin was tomato based. It certainly was different.

    • dkzody August 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      I actually remember a dish like this. Wasn’t it called aspic or something. It was terrible, though.

  7. Cindy August 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    HaHa! Tastes like the 50’s and pairs well with a cigarette!

  8. Tipsykit August 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    I think this is further proof that your palates have become accustomed to horrible Jello dishes. I bet you wouldn’t have found it so edible toward the beginning of your culinary experiments!

  9. Cristina August 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    It doesn’t look that bad to me, it kinda looks good. I LOVE olives..maybe ill try this recipe too!

  10. Ann Kennedy August 11, 2013 at 8:58 am - Reply

    This one really brings back childhood memories–one of my mom’s favorites was jello with green olives, bing cherries, walnuts and cream cheese balls. Can’t imagine the pickles!

  11. SnoKat August 13, 2013 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Just reading the statement “it would pair well with cigarettes” made me LOL!

  12. Leah August 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I’ve eaten my share of Midwestern JELLO “salads” with pineapple and shaved carrots, but this is just. Wow. It’s festive in a technicolor sense. I love Tom’s commentary.

  13. LeeshaJoy January 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    I saw this and a filk of Jonathan Coulton’s “Skullcrusher Mountain” popped into my head. “You like pickles, you like olives, maybe you don’t like Jell-O so much…”

  14. kable September 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    this is made of 2 two things i hate the most; pickles and olives. of course there in like everything

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