Whew! This post is ANOTHER entry from the Mid-Century Menu Worst Recipe Contest.  It is the second to last one, and am I ever happy about that! You guys really came up with some doozies for us to choke down. This horrifying combo comes from Gabrielle, who writes:

I wanted to submit an entire meal that my mother remembers vividly from her youth (late 1950’s/early 1960’s) as “the most horrible tasting dinner”   She grew up in Western Massachusetts so I am unsure as if these were regional recipes or something found in a nationally available cookbook. Either way, the main dish seems very bland and just all around odd.  The Jello side dish just seems wrong in every way possible. 

Main Dish: Fried Peas and Lettuce

1 head of iceberg lettuce sliced in rounds
1 can of peas (drained)
Vegetable oil (I don’t know the amount, but my mother says it was A LOT because the final dish was floating in oil…I am guessing maybe 1/2 cup?)
Prepared Minuit Rice
Fry up the lettuce rounds in vegetable oil until they are wilted.  Add peas and cook until warm.  Serve lettuce and pea mixture (with all of the oil) over a bed of Minuit Rice.  *Any salt and pepper were added at the table by whoever was eating the food
Side Dish: Lime Jello Salad Mold

1 package Lime Jello
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 pound of cottage cheese
2 stalks chopped celery
1/4 minced onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Stir Jello mix into the boiling water and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and pour into mold ring.  Chill until solid.  Un-mold and serve.
(Note: I did find this online with more vegetables like carrots and peppers, but my mother says that my grandmother did not include them in her recipe.  I do not know if the additions would make this better or worse)
Happy Eating,
Ummm….*Copious throat clearing*  Ummm….thanks?  Way to come in on the mark on this one.  Nasty. Jeez, I feel terrible for your mom, Gabrielle!
So, this is pretty typical of a classic Mid-Century recipe, and I will tell you why. No, no, I have a better idea.  Instead of telling you, I will re-write the instructions of this recipe to ILLUSTRATE a classic Mid-Century recipe.  It will be like dinner theater, except less fun and only slightly less disgusting.
Ready?  Ready?  Ok.
Get a perfectly good pile of ingredients.  Make sure they are reasonably healthy, so you can FEEL like you are feeding your family well, even though it is a lie.

Make Gelatin. (Every good Mid-Century Meal should include gelatin)

Add non-sensical and disgusting things to your gelatin, like cottage cheese, onion and celery, which you wouldn’t even eat if they accidently got mixed together on your plate let alone dumped into something sweet.

Pour into a mold designed to make a pile of barf look edible.

Congratulations.  You have just ruined your jello.

Okay, on to step 2.

Take your vegetable and cut it in a way that will be awkward for everyone to eat.

Now, cook vegetable until it is limp and half dead in the pan.

Now add an ingredient that is unnecessary and makes no sense whatsoever.

Serve over some form of white starch.

Congratulations.  You have just ruined your vegetables.

Now, it’s fun time. Find an unsuspecting (or innocent) family member.  Tell them dinner is ready, and watch their faces while they try to figure out what the heck dinner is supposed to be.

Say something clever and inspired like, “It’s a salad” or “Vegetables are good for you” until they are suckered into eating it.

Now, this is the  most important step.  DO NOT LAUGH while they are eating it. Even when they make faces like this:

Or, in the case of lime gelatin, faces like this:

Now, make yourself a huge martini with triple olives, since you aren’t going to be eating much dinner. Move food around on your plate until it looks like you have eaten something.

Repeat nightly.

THE VERDICT: Gross. The lettuce pea thing didn’t taste like much except canned peas, but it was really greasy.  The lime gelatin salad was disgusting.

This one’s for you, Gabrielle!!!