Today’s crazy vintage recipe comes from a little book called Joys of Jell-O. I picked this little beauty up at an estate sale recently. I just love these old cookbooks, and some of them have great vintage recipes in them. Others, less so.
This book was produced by General Foods Kitchens. When I opened the book, it fell open to this recipe. I have to wonder, is it possible that whoever owned this book before me loved to make this dish? Seems so unlikely.
A beautiful jewel-like entree salad for your luncheon or buffet table.
1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Lime or Lemon Gelatin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons grated onion
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
2 tablespoons sliced stuffed olives
1 can (7 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked.
Dissolve Jell-O Gelatin and sat in boiling water. Add cold water, vinegar, and onion. Chill until very thick. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into individual ring molds or a 1-quart ring mold. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp salad greens. If desired, serve with additional tuna and top salads with mayonnaise.Makes 3 2/3 cups, o about 4 entree servings.
That’s the recipe, unaltered. The picture in the book looks a green and see-through, but I swear that the directions tell you to mix the tuna in the Jell-O. Seems like that would make it filmy. Yech.
In the picture, all I can see in the center of the ring is salad greens. Perhaps they are hiding the tuna?
Regardless, I find it unsettling that whoever compiled this cookbook felt that this was a great recipe worthy of a photograph. Only a few recipes have a photo, and only a few of the photos are color. Ring-Around-the-Tuna scored big with a 1/2 page color photo! Yikes.
The cookbook includes a little history of Jell-O. While I am poking fun at one particular recipe, I would never poke fun at Jell-O. Jell-O is weird comfort food and therefore deserves more respect than that. Also, when I had my children, all I craved in this world was Lime Jell-O.
According to the General Foods Kitchens, “Jell-O Gelatin fist grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897.” That’s 115 years ago! This cookbook is only 50 years old, because it was created to celebrate Jell-O’s 65th birthday.
“The bounty of Jell-O doesn’t end with its lightness, good taste, convenience, and versatility. Jell-O Gelatin is nutritious and low in calories, just 83 calories per half-cup serving. It sits as lightly on your conscience as it does on top of any meal. You can add fresh vegetables or fruit, or even a marshmallow or two, and eat and eat.”
Jell-O salads are truly one of my favorite things to check out at any buffet or pot-luck function. You never know what’s gonna be in there. Some are delicious, some are repulsive. And some, like this Tuna ring insanity, are just wrong. But they’re never boring.
Here are a couple of quick & easy recipes that sound cool and delicious. Thanks Jell-O!
For year ‘round refreshment, mold fresh or canned oranges in gelatin.
1 package (3 oz.) Jell-O Orange or Orange-Pineapple Gelatin
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cold ginger ale or water
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup diced fresh orange sections, drained (or 11 oz. can mandarin orange sections, drained)
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add ginger ale. Chill until very thick. Stir in marshmallows and orange sections. Pour into a 1-quart ring mold or individual ring molds. Chill until firm. Unmold. Makes 3 cups, or 6 servings.
Strawberry-Banana Ring: Prepare Orange-Mallow Ring, substituting Strawberry-Banana gelatin for the Oange gelatin and 2 medium bananas, sliced, for the oranges.