Saturday, February 11, 2006

Jello, I Love You
Won't You Tell Me Your Name*

Brangelina @ 1959

I was flipping through some old cookbooks passed down through the family, and when I got to this one entitled Country Cooking, issued by Farm Journals, I had to laugh at the food being shown. There's something about lousy photography, lurid colors and changing food tastes through time. I'm trying to picture some young woman (circa 1959 when this book was published) thinking, "What can I serve my love for a Valentine's meal he will never forget?" For some reason, jellied molded food seemed to be very popular across the food groups, in ways you could never imagine, so I thought I would share a few to get you in the Valentine spirit:

I Don't Think You Ready For This Jelly**

Jellied Meat Mold

1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck beef
1 cup hot water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup cubed dill pickles
1 10 1/2 ounce can condensed beef consommé
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
12 pimiento-stuffed olives
Strips of pimiento

  • Simmer beef in water until tender. Remove beef. Put through food chopper using coarse blade. There should be two cups of ground beef.
  • Cool broth. Soften gelatin in two tbl. of broth.
  • Cook celery and onion in remainder of the broth until tender, but still slightly firm, about ten minutes. Drain. Save broth. Mix celery, onions and pickles into the meat.
  • Add enough broth to the consommé to make two cups; heated. Add soften gelatin; stir to dissolve. Pour thin layer of gelatin into a 1 1/2 quart loaf pan; chill. To remainder of gelatin mixture add salt and pepper and beef.
  • Arrange olive slices and pimiento strips in design over the gelatin in pan. Spoon in beef mixture and chill.
  • To serve, unmold on platter. Garnish with parsley and stuffed olives.. Makes eight servings.
  • Double the recipe for a crowd.
Don't you just love that? Double the recipe for a crowd? Because they'll be clamouring for this one. What really tickled me, was that at the beginning of the recipe, under the title, it said, "We've never tasted a better jellied meat mold! A Five-Star Recipe!"

...and for dessert...MORE molded food:

Dr. Freud? White Courtesy Phone...
Then Again, Sometimes A Jello
Mold Is Just A Jello Mold.

Strawberry Parfait Ring

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiled water
Red food coloring
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
Strawberries (about 1 1/2 quarts)
Flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup heavy cream

  • Cook sugar with water until syrup spins a thread (235 degrees). Use food coloring if you wish a pink mold.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually add hot syrup and continue beating until cool and light. Add vanilla and salt.
  • Fold in the whipped cream; pour into a 2-quart ring mold and freeze.
  • At serving time, umold and fill center of the ring with strawberries. Sprinkle a fluff of coconut on top. If ring is not tinted, tint coconut pink. Border the ring with puffs of whipped cream.
For those on a diet, you can always whip up healthy treats like those found on these dated Weight Watcher cards:

I know these things have been around forever, but they continue to fascinate and repel at the same time.

The Tower Of Meat: Size Doesn't Matter

Let's retire to the den, shall we?........

After your man is sated, you can go over to the hi fi and put on Esquivel's Other Worlds, Other Sounds lp, dim the lights on your pole lamp and snuggle. Later, you can bring out the apéritifs and the naughty candy tray. Erotic Edibles 1. KISS and MAKE UP - Lingerie & Adult Specialty Boutique.

Just remember...Pepto Bismol is also pink.

* Paraphrasing a Doors song.

** Thanks to Destiny's Child for borrowing from Bootylicious.


Blogger Jinxy said...


Jellied. Meat.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

You said that just like Homer Simpson, Mr. Jinxy. Where are you, by the way...still in Morocco?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I remember in Home Economics (as they called the class for girls) learning to make tomato aspic. When was the last time you were offered tomato aspic? Or that green cottage cheese - lime jello molded salad? Those were the days when no good cook would be without a variety of molds! Mine has been gathering dust on the top shelf in my kitchen for a long time.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Wrethcat said...

Yuck and double yuck, unless someone knows how to make a fabulous Catnip and lasagna mold?

A cat has got to have standards.

>^, ,^<

7:34 PM  
Blogger always write said...

Is it wrong that I found most of that food appealing? Eh, I'm Polish. We'll eat anything.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Barbara: Old cookbooks are these little microcosms of society. It's fascinating to see what was popular in any given decade. That's one way women communicate through generations, as well, with the passing down of recipes. Like Water for Chocolate drives that point home. I actually scanned those jellied foods out of this old cookbook I found. I was startled when I opened it up and started studying it. I can see someone eating tomato aspic. I think that still crops up (rarely), but jellied beef? Yikes!

Wrethy: I'll make you something with catnip, Miss Kitty. You'll be a mess and biting anyone that tries to pet you.

Always? THAT is profoundly disturbing. LOL.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Cube, was that jellied meat mold or moldy meat jelly ? ... pork soda ? ... chicken cigarettes ?

10:24 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Dave? Are you smoking Wrethy's catnip?

10:25 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

All I was going to say was EWWWW

but then I got excited. I have an Esquivel record! I have a whole collection of cocktalia music both by him and some other contemporary Esquivel wannabees.

Cube you are so cool.

8:46 AM  
Blogger KOB said...

You are cutting edge, Cubie. Old is new, and " is available" as a domain, according to My mind is congealing.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Reya: Go search your Esquivel records this morning and see if you have the one where he does "Snowfall."

KOB: You sent me on a web search for jellied meat and look what I found. Vietnam--It's not just Pho anymore:

Thit Dong --Vietnamese
Serve: 10 people.


One pig's foreleg (about 1kg).
200g pig's skin.
50g green peas with a little salted pepper.
100g carrot,
10g edible seaweed.
MSG, pepper, salt, fish sauce.


Stage 1: prepare the stuff:

Pig's foreleg: clean up, put into a saucepan full of water, boil for a while, drain the pan. Pour fresh water into the pan, boil until the meat is cooked. Take the meat out and keep the water. Cut the meat into slices, leave out bones. Again put the meat into the pan, add salt, MSG, fish sauce and then stew them.

Pig's skin: clean up, puck, put into a pan with boiled water. Then cook it. cut the cooked skin into thin slices and put them into the meat pan. Stew.

Green bean: Cut into pieces with shapes as you like, pour hot water over the bean (add some salted pepper so that the bean is still green), drain.

Carrot: peel, clean up, shape as desire, pour hot water (with some salt) over it, drain.

Edible seaweed: clean up, put into the meat pan for a while. Add pepper, salt, fish sauce, MSG as desire.

Stage 2: present:

Place bean and carrot on a tray or a bowl, put the meat in, let it cool down. Put the tray (bowl) into the refrigerator. The meat will become meat-jelly.

When eating, put the meat-jelly on plates. This dish is eaten cold and is the first dish of a meal.

11:03 AM  
Blogger I-66 said...

One pig's foreleg (about 1kg).
200g pig's skin.

I definitely read that "One pig's foreskin"

...crazy Vietnamese.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I-66: I just read an article in Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine called "Waiter, There's a Cloven Hoof On My Plate: The World's Strangest and Oftentimes Most Loved Meals." One of the dishes was veal testicles (Tuscany), and another was for Spicy Beef Penis (Szechuan.) To quote the author, "They were chewy and peppery, unremarkable to eat, but astounding to gaze upon."

3:01 PM  
Blogger Rhinestone Cowgirl said...

My Mennonite relatives are still in love with molded food. The carrot-orange-mini-marshmallow dessert with Kool Whip is always a big hit at family reunions.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I have a few weird Jello molds that I found in a consignment shop. One is shaped like the United States. Nothing says "Jello" like eating Florida.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Nothing says "double entendre" like "eating Florida" either...

6:16 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

You're getting to know me too well, Mr. Travis. ;)

6:32 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

I've been on the South Beach diet for 2 flippin weeks. All this talk of food is making me want to go to the store and buy, uh, EVERYTHING.

Luckily we had this thing called a snowstorm that turns everyone into a bunch of freaks and there's no food at Soviet Safeway.

Sigh. Back to low fat cheese.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I grew up in the '50s and my mother once declared: "I don't make jellied meats or croquettes. If that makes me a terrible cook, so be it!"


8:22 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Miss Velvet: Go make some snow ice cream: skim milk, vanilla extract and SNOW!!!

8:24 PM  
Blogger playfulinnc said...

My mom insists that all jello molds must have freshly cracked pecans in it.

So, if you're bringing the meat dish to my momma's house, be sure to schuck some nuts.


8:34 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Playful: When my family was visiting in the South, the children would go out under my grandmother's pecan trees with big burlap bags and load up on pecans. When we got back to D.C. we had to shell them for freezing for Christmas baking. We were warned early on to be careful cracking the thin shell so we didn't damage the nut, so there was a lot of delicate picking work. The other warning, of course, was not to sit there eating them. Black walnuts carried their own perils with stained fingers. :)

8:56 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Kate: Words to live by, "I don't do jellied meat."

8:57 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

I think you may have discovered something(s) worse than meatloaf.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

Jellied meat sounds like the second-nastiest thing in the world. Head-cheese being the first.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Momentary Academic said...

My mother still has some of those wacky recipe cards--and the plastic case that goes with them...

Haha. You really gave me a good laugh this morning, Cube.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Phil: I don't know where things rate on the meat-o-meter, but they both have to be pretty high up there in ranking.

Lord C: ...and sweetbreads.

Momentary: We're playing here all week. :)

9:23 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

On a scale of 1 to 12, with 1 being a delicious filet mignion, 12 being the meat-equivalent of rancid garbage, meatloaf ranks a solid 9.7.

I believe your discoveries may break past the "10" barrier.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Thank God I missed the 70's. I don't do well with molded foods.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Rob Lowe said...

My favorite post to date. I'm a bit freaked, but amused.


1:35 PM  
Blogger Blue Dog Art said...

Molded/jellied/meat is just never a good thing. Think SPAM and not the e-mail kind.

4:41 PM  

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