Hellmann’s Frosty Slaw Man Salad – A Vintage Christmas Recipe Test

Posted on Dec 20 2017 - 8:00am by RetroRuth

Back when I shared the fabulous Mt. Fuji gelatin, I told you about a second project I’d assigned to Carolyn and her scientist friends. And by “project”, I of course mean ridiculous gelatin. This Christmas week, snuggle up in your comfiest chair, grab yourself a warm (potentially boozy) drink, and follow along with:



THEATER!!!!! (Told and Illustrated Through Pictures By Carolyn)

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This is Frosty Slaw Man.


On a warm fall night in September, Carolyn sent a text message to Ruth.

“So, my friends are coming for Hallowe’en again, if you want to make use of our skills.”

Ruth searched her recipe collection until, late one night, she happened upon Frosty. Frosty Slaw Man. She immediately sent him to Carolyn for testing.

Frosty Slaw Man

Carolyn pitched the idea.

“Come on, let’s ‘welcome a new man into our life’! It’ll be fun!”

If only they’d listened to Alana’s gut and stopped RIGHT THEN. But no. They had to press on.

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The instructions were as clear as mud. “Soften gelatin in cold water; stir over hot water till dissolved.”

“You think like a double-boiler?”

“Yeah, do that.”

And the horrors had begun.

“That….. does not look good.”

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They managed to liquefy the gelatin bits again and continued, mixing the ingredients “….into creamy drifts.”

“It’s JUST cabbage and cottage cheese?”

“Basically, yeah. With some salt or something.”

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The sound was something like when your foot gets stuck in the mud. “Sluuuurp. Slurrrrrp.” But they patted away and diligently forced the mixture into the molds. Suddenly, from behind, they heard a yell:

“WHO WOULD EAT THIS??!?!!?!?!??”

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They did not have an answer, so they took another drink of liquid courage and pressed on.

They hit a snag when Carolyn realized she didn’t have Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

“Crud. Whatever, let’s use this other stuff. It’ll be fine.”

Frosty Slaw Man

“But what if there’s some kind of proprietary mix for Hellmann’s that makes it bond properly with the gelatin? WHAT IF WE’RE TOTALLY SCREWING IT UP!!??!?!”

“Hmm. Don’t tell Ruth.”

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But they should have. THEY SHOULD HAVE.

Ruth came over the next day to survey the team’s work. She was somewhat pleased to learn that making her recipe had not driven them mad. However, upon unmolding Frosty’s base layer, they realized….something was wrong.



“Let’s work fast!!! Here, face bits ready to go.”


“Move that bottom!”


“Now, the head! Oh gosh, the head….”

Copy of IMG_3149 “Just do it! Go! GO!”

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And done!

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“Hey, he looks kinda cute! I’d let him be ‘my steady’ for sure. Wait….. what’s happening? Oh no.”

Frosty, the terrifying Slaw Man, was no more. The gelatin mixture was NOT enough to hold him together for longer than 5 minutes.

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All that remained was to “Taste him” and see if the heart of not-Hellmann’s was any good.

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“This is not anything special. It just tastes like cottage cheese and cabbage.”

Ruth’s Verdict: Ho-Hum

Despite the hilarious presentation and major gelatin fail, this ended up being kind of a dud. It really didn’t taste that funky, or even like anything, really. I mean, I suppose their goal was to let the mayo really take the show. So it does, and if you like mayo mixed with cabbage and cottage cheese as a side than this is your jam, my friend. I’m not being sarcastic. This wasn’t bad at all, it was totally edible but it just was plain. If you want a real side, I totally would make this out of potato salad.

In terms of the “melting”, I am pretty sure that modern cottage cheese is not as creamy as it used to be. Or maybe cottage cheese in Michigan is drier than in most states. Either way, I have run into this problem before with gelatin and cottage cheese together (here and here), and if your “salad” isn’t soupy enough, the darn thing is just not going to set at all. I remember pouring a great deal of liquid into my potato salad mold, basically making into potato soup and thinking that it was a huge mistake, but it actually ended up setting perfectly. What this guy needs is about 2 cups of extra liquid so that he can hold his shape. But I don’t know if I want to make Carolyn and crew do this again. They may rebel.

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

  1. Julie K Whitmore December 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Ok, I can’t stop watching the video.
    And the music is perfect.
    Thank you so very much for improving my day.

  2. Kerry December 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    That video cracked me up!! 😀

  3. Freezy December 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Watching Frostly slowly slump to his demise has been the highlight of my week so far. He’s meeeeeeeltiiiing! He’s meeeeeellllltiiiing! Oooh, what a world, what a wooooorld….

  4. Lynne December 21, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    There may be something to this “only Hellmann’s” thing. I got a dip recipe from a dear friends mom (also Ruth) back in the late 70’s. She handed me the recipe card and stressed, “you HAVE to use Hellmann’s or it won’t work”

    I took her at her word and I’ve never used anything else so I don’t know if its fact or fiction.

  5. Kitkat December 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    The little boy in the video cracked me up! His expression went from “happy” to “horrified” .

  6. Marty December 23, 2017 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    That is just so many kinds of wrong and for that, I am truly grateful! 🙂 I’m going to be seeing and giggling at the video in my mind for many months to come.

    I wonder if it would be better to use an actual coleslaw recipe (which has more liquid) than just the plain cabbage. I have also run into the “brand” issue with some other Hellmans/Best Foods (west coast) recipes. The other issue is that the actual mayo recipe has changed over the years too.

    Thank you all for a fantastic holiday post!

  7. Denise December 27, 2017 at 2:42 am - Reply

    I like the brief look on Frosty’s face of “Everything is fine, this is all perfectly norm…oh noooo”

  8. Clarence Ellis January 2, 2018 at 7:42 am - Reply

    I love your plates!!

  9. Fay January 12, 2018 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Ok, while this recipe was clearly a flop, next year you should totally remake him with some kind of cheeseball (or possible 3 flavors of cheeseball, one for each section) because he was actually cute before he melted. Maybe with a carrot or something down the center for some much needed structural integrity.

  10. Graham Strouse January 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Basically you turned “Frozen” into Stephen King’s “It.” With extra cabbage.

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