This recipe has it all. Cutesy title, vintage brand-name product, and gelatin.


What could go wrong?

Can Do Salad – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday
Author: Tillie Lewis Tasti-Diet
  • 1 can (16 ounces) Cling Peach Slices
  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
  • Imitation mayonnaise
  • Paprika (to garnish)
  1. Drain liquid from 1 can (16 ounces) of your favorite Tasti Diet low calorie fruit into saucepan. Add 1 package (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin. Add 1 drop food coloring of your choice. Heat and stir to dissolve. Stir mixture into fruit in can. Chill to set. To remove, allow can to reach room temperature, open can bottom and push molded contents through.
  2. Using Tasti Diet Cling Peach Slices prepared as above. Slice into four equal servings. Place on a bed of lettuce and top with Tasti Diet May-lo-naise, or any other imitation mayonnaise. Garnish with paprika. Serves 4. 66 calories each.


My first reaction to this recipe was “whaaat?” Gelatin in a can of fruit. But there’s actually a pretty interesting story behind this recipe, and behind the whole line of Tillie Lewis Tasti-Diet foods.


First off, Tillie Lewis. This mid-century food magnate was born Myrtle Ehrlich in Brooklyn, NY. She originally made her fortune (and a name for herself) canning first pomodoro tomatoes, then a variety of fruits and vegetables.


Tasti-Diet was invented in 1952, allegedly after a doctor told Tillie that she should lose some weight. (I say allegedly because, based on photos of the Tomato Queen from around that time, she didn’t significantly change size. It was all marketing drama.)


And Tasti-Diet came in 36 varieties — including Tasti-Diet May-lo-naise. That’s right: MAY-LO-NAISE. They even trademarked it. I love it.

The Tasti-Diet formula replaced sugar with saccharine for a range of low-cal foods, including canned fruit. Obviously “heavy syrup” wouldn’t be the modern approximation to Tasti-Diet. But, it’s possible to get Splenda-sweetened juice, or regular fruit juice… I went with plain juice.


Buzz has a soft spot for peach in jello — we have fond memories of visiting Longfellow’s Wayside Inn when we lived in Massachusetts, and their Jerusha Peach Mold is quite good. It is served with some sweet fruity whipped cream topping thing.

This is a rather cruel imitation. “So, uh… what’s that white stuff on top?”



“… mayonnaise?”

“Wait, how’d you know that?”

“Because it was the worst possibility.”



“Wow, that’s revolting!”

Verdict: Mayonnaise makes it revolting.

Tasting notes:

Fruit in gelatin isn’t bad at all. It’s actually kind of nice to be able to make it from scratch, although it’s not as convenient as just buying fruit cups. The mayo — or worse, imagine it with imitation mayo! — just doesn’t belong on a sweet fruit salad.