Knox Cookbook cover

Just No Gelatine!

The Knox Gelatine Cookbook
Rutledge Books, Inc, Knox Gelatine, Inc
1977

Submitter: Just in time for those summer gelatine/Jello salads – who wouldn’t want calico corn relish, creamy cranberry relish, or a zesty seafood appetizer in gelatine? The pictures just make my…mouth water would not be the right phrase. This one is off to the sale cart.

Holly: That corn thing looks disgusting, and I’ll eat just about anything! What was the obsession with gelatine in the 70s?? Especially paired with weird things like fish.

Mary: Jell-o-type products should only be used with fruit cocktail and maybe some whipping cream, if you want to be fancy. Even reading a recipe of one of these “savories” makes me gag.

sea veg gelatin cover

Vegetarian Jell-o

The Sea Vegetable Gelatin Cookbook and Field Guide
Madlener
1981

Oh no! Another gelatin book has found it’s way to ALB. Brace yourselves! Instead of Bill Cosby and Jell-o treats, we have sea vegetable gelatin or agar.

I was okay at the strawberry souffle, and maybe the pineapple-coconut punch, but wait! Right next door is beet and red cabbage drink. Beets are not bad, cabbage is not (that) bad. Together in a drink? NO!

The worst picture is the Beef and Carrot souffle, with hard boiled eggs. Somehow seeing this dish is worse than reading the recipe. Given that agar is used as a vegetarian option for gelatin, it seems a bit odd to be specifically using agar for a beef dish.

Parties Mother Never Gave cover

Parties Mother Never Gave

Parties Mother Never Gave
Drill
1991

Submitter: I found this gem while weeding our cookbook collection. The entire book is not only outdated, but every recipe is a pun or a “fun” play on words. The pictures are all washed out yellow tones, making every meal look completely unappetizing. The book focuses more on ridiculous menus with a list of adjective filled names of dishes than actually detailing the recipes well enough to cook! And then there’s the title..it almost seems like the author has a few family issues that are coming out in their writing.

Holly: I love cookbooks, and I can actually read them cover to cover like a novel and be thoroughly engrossed. My deal breaker for cookbooks is lack of (or bad) photos. The cover is colorful and fun, but is that the last photo in the book? I like the idea of menus, planning and timing tips, and shortcuts, but it needs pictures! And, yeah, odd title.

Food Stretcher Cook Book cover

Food Stretcher

The Family Cookbook
The American Woman’s Food Stretcher Cookbook
Make your Ration Points Go Twice As Far
Culinary Arts Institute
1943

Submitter: This cookbook has been on our shelf since 1943, which is both amazing that it survived public library use and yet dodged the weeding process. I think the only thing that can make a cookbook worse than having no images is one with black and white images like these. Someone will enjoy this one on the for-sale cart.

Holly: “Meat Roly Poly” with pickled peach/olive faces and “Noodle Cottage Cheese Casserole” are on my no thank you list…and I’ll eat just about anything.

complete gelatin cookbook

Jello gone wrong

The Complete Gelatin Cookbook
Soares
1978

I was a kid in the 1960s and a Midwesterner. Of course, I love my Jello. It is a staple of my childhood. My mother would take basic cherry flavor and stir in some fruit cocktail from a can. My mom also had an impressive collection of gelatin molds. She could manage a jell-o mold for any occasion.

Now that I have been in the awful library book business for over 10 years, I have a list of standards that are “musts” in every gelatin book:

Criteria met! Now you have some great ideas for your next party!

500 Salads cover

500 Salads

500 Delicious Salad Recipes
Culinary Arts Institute
1954

Submitter: To be honest – I expected more gross Jello salads than were found in this book. But the Frozen Seafood salad made up for it. The only request I got for this book was not to dump it in the lunchroom recycling bin and to use the one out in the hall.

Holly: How many books¬†are¬†there in this series?? Please note the “perky shapes” on the fourth image below (top, left-corner of that page), the molded jellied salads.

Dairy dishes cover

Brace yourselves for Dairy

300 Tasty, Healthful Dairy Dishes
Culinary Arts Institute
1940

Submitter: Hold onto your stomachs for this one. Just when you think you have found everyone of these items for the series, another mystery stained volume appears like a zombie crawling out of a hefty bag. I hope this won’t spoil anyone’s lunch!

Holly: Instant recognition after the egg cookbook! Dairy is so 1940.

Mary: Thank God this is in black and white. I think if we saw the Green Pea Ring recipe all decked out in a pea color, it could cause some kind of trauma.

garnishing

A real feast for your eyes!

Garnishing
A Feast for Your Eyes
Lynch
1987

I know there is a whole bunch of people that like artistic looking food. I also know that food can be just another medium for the artist inside you. I am just one of those people who wants food to look like food. I shouldn’t have to guess what the food actually is.

This book has a few lovely decorations. See the first image after the break. The raspberry tart thing looks pretty. However, as we go through the book, it becomes more outrageous. A carrot curl or a sprig of parsley is actually a nice touch. But I am going to stop at the shaped potato salad. But wait there is more!