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.

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!

joy of jello cookbook cover

Gourmet Jell-o Recipes

Joys of Jell-o
General Foods
1960 (est)

I’ll admit it. I have a certain fondness for the old cookbooks, especially the ones with molded food. We have featured quite a few over the years, but I think this one might be a favorite. Nearly every page has a recipe or two that takes creative to a whole new level. You can see the yellow frozen jello loaf below. Looks okay so far. Then we move to the next picture, which has a melon filled with jello. Unfortunately we can’t tell from the black and white picture what flavor of jello was inflicted upon the poor melon, but the recipe suggests lime or red. I shudder to think what flavor is “red,” rather than cherry or strawberry.

But wait, there is more! Now we jump to some savory jello recipes featuring tuna, tomatoes, and cabbage.

Serve it Cold cover

Salmon Jell-o Anyone?

Serve it Cold!
A cookbook of delicious cold dishes
Crosby &  Bateman
1969

Naturally, the warm summer is a perfect time to break out the cold food. As you can guess, one of the stars of this cookbook is our old friend gelatin. I believe that appetizing fish dish on the cover is salmon in aspic. As a Midwesterner, I can appreciate versions of jello like no one else. I will have marshmallows and fruit cocktail in mine, please. However, this aspic/fish combo seems to be everywhere in cookbooks from this era. I don’t get it and I don’t remember ever seeing it when I was a kid. Perhaps this type of cooking was too sophisticated for my delicate central Illinois upbringing.