Today is the launch of a little project I have been thinking about for a couple of years, it and will be a pretty regular feature here on ye olde blog: Jensalittleloopy Cooks the Oldies.
I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks for years, cracking up over the questionable relationship advice, trying to figure out where one might source monosodium glutamate (people used to add that stuff to food at home!), and drooling over gorgeous molded salads. I often wonder if people actually made those weird things or if they did like we do with our cookbooks now – buy them, cook a recipe or two, and then never touch them again. (I am hoping through doing this that I have the opportunity to chat with people who can answer this question!)
I have fond memories of my first cookbook. My grandmother bought it for me when I was quite small, along with my kidlet sized Tupperware baking set. I think the cookbook qualifies as vintage at this point. 😉 I still have it so someday I’ll show it to you and we’ll revisit my youth by making a recipe or two.
Are you ready to step back in time with me? We’re going to 1961, the Farm Journal’s Timesaving Country Cookbook (1,000 Up-to-Date Recipes for Make-Ahead, No-Watch, and Jiffy Shortcut Dishes). My copy is inscribed “To My Good Friend Doris”, and was a gift to her in May of 1972. (I have a lot of Doris’s cookbooks — she apparently both loved to cook and was an awesome friend!)
Before we go on, can we just take a second to discuss this cake on the cover? I can’t find the recipe ANYWHERE in the book but I really want to make it! I don’t understand Jordan almonds because how do you even eat them? They were totally invented by dentists or some other mean sort of person who puts candy in front of you that is impossible to eat without injuring yourself. Still, they look adorable tucked into the grooves on this cake platter and Neapolitan anything is gorgeous!
Molded salads are something of an obsession of mine because I had an awful experience with one when I was in high school which scarred me for life. We were at a Christmas party at the house of one of my grandmother’s friends, and on the buffet was a gorgeous green gelatin mold with bits of pretty foods suspended inside. It shimmered and sparkled, seemingly lit from within by the Christmas lights lining the table. I sliced a large piece (Slicing jello! CRAZY! What’s next? Nailing it to walls?) and hurried over to the table to try it. I took a giant forkful and about half a second after it hit my tongue realized what a huge mistake I had made. You see, I had failed to realize that the pretty things suspended within the lime Jello were ONIONS and CELERY.
And of course I was sitting at a table where everyone was very proper and using linen napkins, so I had no choice but to chew that Jello for about ten minutes until I could convince my body to just swallow it already.
I do wonder, now that I am a more adventurous eater, if I might like it if I tried it again knowing ahead of time that I was about to eat onions and celery encased in lime gelatin. We’ll get there.
But today is all about the Raspberry-Applesauce Salad. I’m starting with something fairly straightforward to win my family over into trying these retro recipes before I get into the more disgusting interesting advanced dishes. “’My family raves over this salad,’” said the woman who shares this recipe.” How could I go wrong with that? Raving is an ideal outcome.
And how can you not love a salad that is mostly applesauce and soda, right?
2 c. smooth applesauce
2 small boxes of raspberry gelatin
1 tsp. orange zest
3 tbsp. orange juice
7 oz. lemon-lime carbonated beverage
- Heat the applesauce to boiling.
- Dissolve both packages of gelatin in the molten applesauce.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Chill until firm.
Be careful! Boiling applesauce gets splashy and also applesauce will burn (don’t ask). Also, I like to use a little nonstick cooking spray in my mold (and wipe the excess out).
It smells heavenly when you put the gelatin in! I’m not so sure about the orange accents, but I hear most people like orange combined with raspberry so we’ll see.
Sooooo, it wasn’t horrible. Little dude was SO excited that we were allowed to have Jello with dinner, instead of as a snack. He smiled and giggled so much you’d think I had given him chocolate cake instead of Jello! No matter what I said, I could not convince him that this was salad, however, even after the addition of a leafy garnish which was his favorite part of this dish.
(See. Lettuce. This IS TOO a salad.)
The consistency was more like jelled cranberry sauce than Jello, and I kind of liked that. I think we all would have enjoyed it much more if the orange zest and orange juice hadn’t been in there. If you like the orange/raspberry combination, this *is* good.
Sidenote: do not serve this with tacos, they really do not go together.
I’ve used this recipe for years; in fact, I own the Farm Journal cookbook in which it appears. Recently (last couple of years ) this salad has not set up properly. It never used to be a problem and I could have happily expounded on what a great salad this is, as you have done. Has anyone else had this problem? I contacted the manufacturers of Jello, and they were no help whatsoever about this. (Basically I wanted to know if the Jello package ingredients had changed in any way in the last few years.)