There are a lot of things that we need every week to make the Mid-Century Menu. Some of those things are tangible. Most weeks we need things like a recipe, the proper cookware, an oven and stovetop, and ingredients (which usually includes lots of gelatin). But a lot of the things that go into the Mid-Century Menu are intangible. Courage. Fortitude. Endurance. And, most importantly, you have to learn to ignore your little voice. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the voice that says, “Is this really a good idea? You know, ham salad is already slimy enough. You already have to put it on toast or crackers because the texture makes you gag. Do we really want to put gelatin into it and slime it up even more?”

Yes, little voice.

Yes, we do.


This is Ham Mousse Imperial, and it was submitted to our Gelatin Contest by Godzilaw, who writes:

Hello, RetroRuth!

First of all, I luv your blog. LOVE IT. And I love vintage cookbooks. Attached are recipes from a few of the books in my collection. My husband and I often end up antiquing when we go out of town (normally in the midwest – Wisconsin and Indiana), and I pick up a few more cookbooks every time. They make for some interesting (sometimes horrifying, always entertaining) reading!

Many thanks, and GodSpeed.


Ham Mousse Pic

Ham Mousse Recipe

So, just to make things fun, I am going to tell you what my little voice was telling me while I was making this. Just for contrast, I will also tell you the things I was actually saying to Tom.


Me: “This is a lot of mustard.”

The Voice: “This is a mistake. Mustard-flavored gelatin? This smells terrible.”


Me: “This doesn’t look so bad.”

The Voice: “You have got to be kidding me. How is this ever going to taste good?”


Me: “So, the whipped cream must be like the mayonnaise in ham salad. I bet it’s going to taste pretty good.”

The Voice: “Barf.”


Me: “The little cups actually look pretty.”

The Voice: “It reeks. What is that horrible smell?”


Me: “Well, all finished!”

The Voice: “I can’t believe this worked. I thought for sure those muffin cups would never peel off.”

Me: “Tom, time to try this ham thing!”

The Voice: “Sucker!”

Tom FaceIMG_9472

Did you see that first face? It smelled terrible!

Me: “Well, what do you think?”

Tom: “It’s slimy.”

The Voice: “Told you so.”

The Verdict: Strange.

From the Tasting Notes:

Mustard in gelatin was pretty pungent. Salad was rich and slimy. Needed salt. Tasted like ham salad, but with an off texture. Almost dessert-like texture. Tasted better on crackers.

Thanks for the fun recipe, Godzilaw!