I hope everyone is looking forward to Labor Day! I know I am. And it preparation for all the cookouts and picnics that you will be going on, I decided to dig into our collection and pull out something I know will be a big hit on everyone’s Labor Day menu:

It’s potato salad. In a gelatin mold.


It’s Potato Salad Gelatin Mold.

Potato Salad Gelatin Mold
Author: Better Homes & Gardens, 1958
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 8 stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
  • 4 cups diced cooked potatoes
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced pimiento
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  1. Mix gelatin, sugar and 1 t salt thoroughly: pour boiling water over and stir to dissolve sugar. Add lemon juice.
  2. Pour thin layer of mixture into a 1.5 quart ring mold, chill.
  3. When gelatin layer is almost firm, place “flower” design on top (olive slices and green pepper strips).
  4. Add remaining ingredients to rest of gelatin mixture. Spoon over gelatin in ring mold. Chill till firm. Makes 8 servings.
I used green onion strips instead of green pepper strips for the “flowers”!


Now, I know what your thinking. Well, actually I don’t, but I can guess what your thinking:

No, I am not crazy, and yes, this is actually a real recipe.


See? It was in a book and everything. And not just any book, the Better Homes & Gardens Salad Book from 1958. If you are in any way into vintage cooking, vintage food photography and/or jiggly, jiggly gelatin molds, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Seriously. This thing just screams crazy mid-century party and I literally eat it up. It is practically bedtime reading at my house.


And by “practically” I mean, I was actually reading it in bed the night before and showing Tom the pictures. He was not amused.


Another reason I picked this gelatin is because I was able to make little vegetable flowers in the gelatin mold. For some inexplicable reason, I find this to be incredibly enjoyable.

When they turn out, that is. When they don’t, it can be incredibly frustrating.


But I was pretty sure I had it this time.


And Tom was pretty sure he’d had it as well.

“What is that smell?”

“What are you talking about?”

“That smell in the air. You know, the terrible one?”


“Oh, I am making that potato gelatin thing.”

“Wait…the potato…gelatin…the what?!?”

“You know, that potato thing I showed you before bed last night. Check it out, I just poured gelatin into a perfectly good potato salad. I am pretty sure I just ruined it.”

“You are actually making that?!?! I thought you were kidding when you showed it to me!”

“When do I ever kid about mid-century food?”

“Umm..all the time?”


“Well, this time I was serious.”

“Yeah well, that thing seriously smells like barf.”

He was right. It did smell like barf. And it was runny and gross looking. Luckily, it unmolded well and didn’t actually look that bad on the plate. I mean, it looked nuts, but not that bad. The little flowers even stayed in place.




“Sometimes I hate you.”

“No you don’t. Now eat it.”

Tom TastesIMG_2990

“So, how horrible is it?”


“This is actually really good.”

“No freaking way.” I grabbed the plate and took a bite. “Holy crap. This is actually good. Really good.”

The Verdict: Really Good

From The Tasting Notes:

As crazy as this sounds, this thing was actually really good. The flavors and the seasonings were well-balanced without being bland or boring, and the potato salad, while congealed enough to mold, wasn’t so hard that it actually tasted like gelatin. It tasted like a regular, old-fashioned classic potato salad, a good one, except a little more firm. If you aren’t a big fan of how goopy potato salad can get sometimes, this might be your answer. And the olives and pimentos were a really good addition. If you are having a retro-themed cookout, or even a regular one, this potato salad is a must!


Just a head’s up for everyone, I will be on Wisconsin Public Radio’s show Central Time tomorrow, Thursday 8/28 at 4:30 pm EST talking about mid-century recipes for Labor Day and, of course, gelatin!