Forgotten Recipes from Holidays Past

Published on October 30, 2016 02:39 PM
Forgotten Recipes from Holidays Past

History repeats itself and trends resurface. Yet, it’s hard to imagine mid-century recipes like shrimp mold and olive-studded vegetable jello earning a spot at today's dinner table.

The Greatest Generation which ushered in color television and the muscle car also created some memorable attempts in the kitchen.

Here's to the ghosts of Christmas (dinner) past from midcentury American cookbooks.  Below is a collection of recipes gathered from American cookbooks published between 1945 and the early 1970s. 

Bon appetite!

Betty Crocker Cucumber Relish Mold

Source: Betty Crocker's Dinner in a Dish Cookbook, (1965)

Like a molded relish--crisp and fresh flavored

  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) mixed vegetable flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup drained shredded pared cucumber
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 3 tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.

Prepare gelatin as directed on package. Chill until partially set; fold in vegetables and salt. Pouri into a 1-qt. mold or 4 to 6 individual molds. Chill until set. Serve with mayonnaise or dairy sour cream (thinned with milk), if desired. 4 to 6 servings.

Fish Mousse 
Source: Curtain Publications, (1973)

A whimsical preparation suitable as an appetizer or the main meal.

  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. grated onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups fish (tuna, salmon, halibut), drained and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. capers, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/8 tsp. dried majoram, crushed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • (Optional) Carrot sticks and slived olives for garnishing

Soften gelatin in cold water; add boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Cool. Add mayonnaise, lime juice, onion, salt and pepper; mix well and chill until mixture begins to set. Fold in fish, capers, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, and whipped cream. Pour into an oiled fish mold and chill until firm. Unmold on serving platter and, if desired, garnish with carrot strips and stuffed olive slices.

Christmas Candle Salad with Cherry and Banana Molds
Source: COOKINDEX – Division of H.S. Stuttman Co., Inc. New York, Tested Recipe Institute, Inc. New York (1958)

  • 1 1/2 pkg. (1 1/2 tbsp.) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 2 cups canned cranberry juice cocktail
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 8 salted almonds
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad greens

Soften gelatin in cold water and boil cranberry cocktail before dissolve gelatin. Pour into 8 small, star-shaped molds and chill until firm. Remove gelatins from molds and remove a small circle from center of each star that's the same diameter as the bananas. Peel bananas; cut in halves, crosswise. Insert 1/2 banana in center of each of each star as shown. Top each “candle” with a salted almond for a “flame”. Add a little mayonnaise to look like melted wax. Serve on salad greens with mayonnaise. 

Cherry and Banana Mold

​1 pkg. lemon-flavored gelatin.
1 cup water (boiling)
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup black cherries, pitted, drained and cut in half
1 cup banana, sliced

Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water; add and stir in 1 cup cold water. Chill gelatin, stirring often, until thick but not set. Fold in  cup ed black cherries and 1 cup sliced ripe banana. Turn into 1-quart mold; chill until firm. Unmold, garnish with salad greens and serve.