Salad Days

Recipes on Parade: Salad cover

Recipes On Parade
Favorite Recipes Press

All the salads you can possibly imagine are here in this book. Very few recipes featuring traditional greens, but of course the staples of potato salad, macaroni salad and our good friend Jell-o are featured the most. Jell-o based food is a popular topic here at ALB and as a Midwesterner, I grew up with just about every iteration of jello known.

Without a doubt, molded food was quite the trend from the late 1950s through the 1970s. My mom still has a collection of molds and I know I was given my share when I got married in the early 1980s. I don’t mind the basic sweet jello from my childhood, but I will draw the line at the molded beet and cabbage salad featured in the 3rd picture below. It’s so wrong on so many levels.


walnut jewel salad mold

cottage cheese and orange salad mold

molded beet and cabbage salad

sprout , beef and macaroni salad


  1. *Cereal* salad ???? They mean like Cheerios or Rice Krispies or something? Enlighten me somebody. Also, when I hear “salad”, unless otherwise specified I think greens mixed with other veggies, fruits and maybe some protein, but just what is so horrible about veggies suspended in Jell-o ?

    1. For me, it was the weird combination of flavors and discordant textures. Or maybe my aversion to my Aunt Rhea and her cooking in general! There are some blogs that recreate these recipes– you should investigate them for more information!

  2. “Including Appetizers” on the front cover is a bold claim, considering absolutely none of this looks remotely appetising. Indeed, quite the opposite.

  3. I know b&w pictures are frequently mentioned as part of the reason to weed some of these books, but I’m starting to think they’re a good thing for old cookbooks. I can only imagine how much more horrifying that molded beet and cabbage salad would look in full color.

  4. “2000 World Wide Favorites of Military Officers’ Wives”. Um, okay. So what about the husbands? ^_^

    1. The husbands culinary standards may already have been deadened by a steady diet of C-rations and powdered eggs. Compared to that, the monstrosities depicted in this book would have been a step up. I speak from experience.

    2. Oh, well, no wonder the molds turn out perfectly! Ten-hut! I’m Polish, so beets and cabbage are each capable of making the A list on their own merits. But mushed together in gelatin? Nie, dziekuje.

    3. Also, military officer’s wives were expected to “entertain” — mostly other officers and their wives. And often the ingredients they were used to from home were not to be had… so jello was at least familiar and reliable.

  5. The part about Military Officers’s Wives (er… will there be a follow-up volume from Naval Officers’ Wives?) makes everything clear. These are not salads for enjoying at home. These are salads for when you have to Bring Something, and you know you will be judged on what you bring. Possibly by the colonel’s wife, who will then subtly induce her husband to change his assessment of your husband.

  6. I bet it has the banana “salad” with the pineapple ring, whipped cream, and cherry!

  7. Why? Why so much Jell-O (we call it ‘jelly’ over here in Oz)? I don’t remember it ever being a staple of Australian food outside of desserts; does anyone know where and why it came to be a mains course?

    1. In the 50s and 60s Jello was an American staple for all courses of a meal, at least in the south and many rural areas of the midwest.

  8. From the format, this was probably one of those fund-raising cookbooks that were promoted by various charities and civic groups. This one was probably marketed to an organization of officer’s wives.

  9. My mother and father were married in 1964 and got a set of cookbooks that my mother still has (I think it was called the Encyclopedia of Cookery or some such thing. There are 10 or 12 volumes in the set.) The abundance of recipes for ‘molded’ dishes and savory ‘mousses’ is both astonishing and pretty darn funny. But really, just awful. Why would anyone choose to make or serve a savory Jello-O dish?! (Note: Thank goodness, my mother never made any of them.)

    1. That would be the Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. My wife inherited a set of these, but I’m thankful that she has never cooked anything from it, nor concocted any of those Jello horrors.

  10. I want to know where they got the molds for those lobsters on the cover! Or were they only plastic and not jello molds? And were they lobsters or giant crayfish? (or “crawdads” as we call them in the South)

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