Saturday, June 17, 2017


Happy Summer Weekend! (Well, we haven't hit the solstice quite yet, but we're well into meteorological summer and it is freaking HOT here, so I think it counts.) What better way to celebrate a sultry summer weekend than with a chilled craft project/ recipe? (Okay, there are plenty of ways: eat a peanut butter sundae with chocolate ice cream, go for a walk to watch the sun set (or rise, if you're one of those types), crank up the a.c. and watch Friday the 13th or Jaws or Taxi Driver.... But quit undermining my premise! Just go with it, okay?)

Good Housekeeping's Soups/ Salads/ Sandwiches booklet (1971) has the perfect project:

Make Muffin Salad Cuplets! They can be as nice or as scary as you like. I'm sure the red-Jell-O-and-melon-ball variety is fine if you're a melon-head. The orange is probably okay if you don't mind a big old mouthful of pith. The cucumber and lemon version looks like a perfect little stained glass window and will taste... meh.

My favorites, though, are the two in the back. The pea pods in the yellowish glob look like a row of fish, rushing to the surface to try to eat a red flower. If I were 6, I'd take it to my room and try to keep it as a pet, only to be disappointed as it melted and my "fish" ended up floating listlessly on a pile of goo as the flower sunk into the muck.

As an adult, I have more appreciation for the perfect absurdist art of cauliflower cutlets framed by a wall of beef consommé, resting under the shade of an (egg white?) daisy. I want to frame it and put it in a gallery next to a picture of a woman with a wind-up kitchen timer for a head and spatulas for arms. (My evaluation of the last two items is even more favorable knowing that they are likely to be inedible. I would not eat a work by Salvador Dalí, so why would I eat a beef/ cauliflower/ egg or pea pod and pimento salad cuplet?)

Should you want to create your own masterpieces, the recipe is pretty easy:

Perhaps I will make some green bean eels in berry blue Jell-O, lounging under a banana-slice moon... Too bad the '70s missed out on berry blue.


  1. This is why I became obsessed w/ retro cooking, Gelatine foods are beautiful & fascinating

    1. And a lot of them really do seem more like craft projects than snacks!