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.
- 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
- Mix gelatin, sugar and 1 t salt thoroughly: pour boiling water over and stir to dissolve sugar. Add lemon juice.
- Pour thin layer of mixture into a 1.5 quart ring mold, chill.
- When gelatin layer is almost firm, place “flower” design on top (olive slices and green pepper strips).
- Add remaining ingredients to rest of gelatin mixture. Spoon over gelatin in ring mold. Chill till firm. Makes 8 servings.
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.”
“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!
UPCOMING RADIO INTERVIEW!
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!
Mid-century BH&G cookbooks never disappoint!
Ahh! It’s so pretty! I love the flowers. Definitely. You know, I bet regular potato salad (if made thick enough) would easily work in a mold without gelatin too. You’re a radio star, girly! I hope I can listen!
LOL. So I’m not the only one who has mid-century cookbooks on the nightstand?
Well played with this one. The flowers are boss.
Eartha–yes, you can. Just like if you were making a rice mold.
At first I was horrified because it seemed like potato salad abuse, you did a great job with the flowers. Now I just want to eat it and I don’t have any mayo.
What an epic potato salad! This looks like such a fun thing to bring to a party!
I belong to the mustard school of potato salad. I wonder if substitute mustard for the whipped cream, would it work. I love making designs on potato salad with slices of hard-boiled egg and sliced olives. This would take it to a whole new level!
I can’t wait until the baby’s old enough to start trying your recipes. Capturing her expressions will be hilarious!
It looks awesome!!!! And so glad it tasted good too =)
Go you on the radio gig….again! Whoo-Hoo!!!!!!!!
SO glad this recipe turned out well……I was very, very concerned in the beginning! 🙂
And it’s pretty!
We’re having a jellied salad theme potluck at our church this weekend (God help us!) and I’m intrigued by this potato salad recipe!
I had a question though — when you mix the water/gelatin mixture together and pour it into the mold, do you just pour a tiny bit of it and then use the rest to mix in with the potato salad mixture? How long does that first layer need to chill before you can put the potato mixture on top of it?
Thanks for your help!
If you can send me pics of your church salad potluck, I would LOVE to see them!
Yep, you pour in only a little, and then the rest is mixed with the potato salad itself. And the first layer needs to be chilled until it is almost firm, but not quite. The top still needs to be tacky enough to stick to the potato salad,
Wow. Looks yummy!
I am making this today for a 50’s themed party….so excited! Hope my flowers turn out as pretty as yours.
This was actually yummy. People wanted the recipe. WOW. The gelatin does smell terrible when you mixed in the lemon juice. I was really worried after smelling that. I don’t think I let the first layer chill enough, so my flowers did not stay in place. Then in an effort to un-mold it we put it in a warm bath…for too long. So it was a little melty, but still yummy. Thanks for the inspiration. I will make this again!
You people just don’t understand. This is real live stuff people used to eat. With neighbors far and wide. In neighbor hood pot lucks and at picnics. And if you could by chance, lucky you, have the cookbook they show in the potato salad mold…the recipe for Veal Scallopini is fabulous!!! As long as you follow the directions to the T…at least the first time!!!
Nope, I think we understand it pretty well. This is a great potato salad and we enjoyed it very much!
Brought this to a family gathering, but I didn’t have the nerve to try and unmold it. A freestanding spud salad would have been too much for a lot of people.
Everyone loved it! Just like you said, the gelatin was just enough to keep it from turning goopy. I haven’t mentioned the “secret” ingredient yet…
I gave this recipe to our potential wedding caterer as a “test” to see if they could match our mid century vision- they passed with flying colors! We celebrate five years this month but people still talk about the molded salad I had served. Thanks so much for posting this (and letting me know I’ve never been alone in my retro recipe experimentation)!