I think we mostly agree that gelatin molds containing anything but fruit are a horrifying prospect, and we should be thankful that this era of American cooking has essentially ended.2
But I might have stumbled across something even scarier than a mold that uses gelatin. It comes from the July 1971 issue of The Workbasket and Home Arts Magazine. The article titled "Magnificent Molds" includes a predictable number of horrifying recipes, including:
- Blue Cheese Aspic Mold (with blue cheese, yogurt and cucumber)
- Olive Seafold Mold (self-explanatory)
- Shrimp-Dill Mold (with Worcestershire sauce for good measure)
- Sunday Supper Chicken Mold (with eggs and carrots)
- Gazpacho Salad Mold (with eggs, scallions, celery, green pepper, olives, Italian dressing and more)
It is now time for us to delve into the horror of:
This is only the second time that this particular recipe has been mentioned on the Internet.3 There's probably a reason for that. In place of gelatin, the ingredient that holds the ham, gherkins, pineapple and celery together is Blended Lima Beans!
Yum! Yum! Yum! Make sure you chill it well before serving it to friends and family members who will certainly plan to never come to your house again.
Here's the recipe in its entirety, from The Workbasket.
I would love it if Ruth Clark, chef and author of a brilliant blog called The Mid-Century Chef, would recreate Pickle Ham Mold in her kitchen and feed it to her good-sport husband, Tom.4 It would be the perfect way to tie off this dark corner of American culinary history.
1. Here, for masochists, are the links to Papergreat's past gelatin coverage:
- Halloween Countdown #3: Things you shouldn't put in Jell-O
- Horrifying ephemeral images that will haunt you this Halloween
- Partial label from Ecco Tomato Juice and the Tomato Twinkle recipe
- 1952 advertisement for Royal gelatin desserts
- A handy Christmas cape that doubles as a tree skirt
- Poland = galareta
- Lithuania = šaltiena
- Belarus = kvashanina
- Ukraine = kholodets, dragli and studenets (they do love their aspic)
- Latvia = galerts and aukstā gaļa
- Serbia = pihtije
- Croatia = hladetina
- Macedonia = pivtija and pača
- Hungary = kocsonya
- Romania = piftie and rǎcituri
- Sweden = aladåb
- Finland = aladobi
3. In researching this post, I did a Google search for "pickle ham mold" and came up with just one result, making it a bit of a Googlewhack (though not using the exact definition of Googlewhack). Here's proof of that search, as the existence of this published blog entry means there will no longer be just one result.
4. A great directory of the worst recipes that Ruth and poor Tom have tackled can be found here on The Mid-Century Menu. One of my "favorites" is Cottage Cheese-Pickle-Peanut Sandwich.
Note for posterity
This is the 800th Papergreat post. In the past, I have celebrated some milestone posts with chickens. But I think I'm just going to wait and throw the next big milestone party when I hit 1,000 posts in about six months. Mark your calendars for mid to late September.