Real French Cauliflower Supreme, 1954 – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Oct 9 2013 - 5:00am by RetroRuth

Soooo…this week we are frosting a whole head of cauliflower with mayonnaise. Then putting capers and olives on it.


It’s called Cauliflower Supreme and, when you cut it, the inside looks like a brain.


I think this is a pretty appropriate recipe for the beginning of October. I had originally planned to do Halloween-themed recipes for this entire month, but why bother to search out Halloween-themed recipes when mid-century food is scary enough on its own?


Two cups of mayonnaise! Two. Cups. I don’t even…wow. That’s a lot of mayo.

3.0 from 2 reviews
Cauliflower Supreme
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cups Hellmann's Mayonnaise
  • Black Olives
  • Capers
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Shrimp
  1. Cook one perfect while cauliflower whole. Cool, then chill.
  2. Mask completely with Real Mayonnaise, place on crisp watercress.
  3. Surround with fresh or frozen cooked shrimp, hard-cooked eggs.
  4. Stud with black olives, capers.



Luckily, this one was pretty easy, so I didn’t have a lot of time to contemplate things or second-guess myself. It was just a matter of covering the cooked cauliflower with mayo and then decorating it with olives and capers.


It actually looks sort of pretty, don’t you think? I mean, if you don’t think about the fact that there is about an inch of just mayo covering this thing.


There. Very pretty, in a weird mid-century food sort of way.

Oh, and I forgot to buy shrimp and I couldn’t find watercress, so I left them out. But really, what’s a garnish of shrimp going to do for this anyway?

At this point, Tom wandered onto the scene. And started laughing.

“So, what’s the story with this thing?”

“It’s one of those advertisements from a 1954 Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It’s supposed to be French.”

“French, huh?”


“Julia Child, eat your heart out.”


A cross-section!

Tom TastesIMG_3590

“Nice face.”

“This is bad.”

“How does it taste?”


The Verdict: Too Much Mayo

From The Tasting Notes:

The thick layer of mayo is just too much. It completely overpowers the entire dish, except when you get a bite of caper in with your mayo. Then it is just weird. Might be a good salad if everything was chopped and mixed up. So even though this one got points for mid-century flair and drama, the presentation was also its downfall.

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

  1. Beth October 9, 2013 at 7:27 am - Reply


  2. Dan October 9, 2013 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I was working in the lab late one night
    When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

    . . . which turned out to be Real French Cauliflower Supreme!

  3. Renee October 9, 2013 at 11:24 am - Reply

    It’s so ugly.

  4. veg-o-matic October 9, 2013 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I’m guessing that any French person, or student of French cuisine, would look at this and think WTF? Because clearly, this is not French. In fact, the only people in the world who would cover a cauliflower with mayonnaise are mid-century corporate home economists.
    On the other hand, this was worth making just for that awesome TomFace™

  5. Mimi October 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Yes. Yes to it all. I want to coat everything in an inch of mayo!

  6. Deb October 10, 2013 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Your husband is such a trooper. You must tell him of my admiration. The gag factor is enough to
    make me run away just looking at it!!!! Yikes!
    ; )

  7. Sara In AZ October 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh…..ALL that mayo………..eeeeekkkkkkssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Erica Retrochef October 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Julia Child, eat your brain out…

  9. dkzody October 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    I just laughed and laughed. You really outdid yourself with this one.

  10. Psyche October 14, 2013 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Thats one of the best Tom faces ever!!!

  11. sara October 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    haha! this is atkins friendly!

  12. MTNYC April 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    The late chef Earl Peyroux (Gourmet Cooking show for years on PBS) did a legit and delicious version of this. The cauliflower was steamed until tender but still with a bit of bite. When cool, he separated and seasoned the florets and re-assembled the head of cauliflower in a bowl, chilling until firmed up. He then unmolded the cauliflower on a platter and made a wonderful dressing of mayo, sour cream, tarragon and Dijon mustard. He then “iced” the cauliflower with the dressing. Then, hard boiled eggs were finely shredded and sprinkled all over the cauliflower, Finely, he decorated it with olive slices, pimentos etc. I’ve made this twice for buffet dinners and it was a big hit. I like the idea of the wedges of hard cooked eggs and shrimp garnish with some watercress. Unlike yours, the Peyroux version and the ones I made, were quite appetizing. Everyone was intrigued as to what it was before it was dug into and none was left at the end of the buffet. By covering the dressing with the shredded eggs you don’t have to slather on so much dressing that would be overpowering. Also, tossing the cauliflower with some of the dressing before re-assembling gives the inside some flavor.

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