Jello Salads- a retro favorite

Today I picked up Helen Corbitt's Cookbook, 1957. I received it in a swap and hadn't looked at it yet. In the salad chapter I found a wealth of info on that retro favorite, the gelatin salad. Helen ended her comments with this thought "If they are good, they are delicious; if they are bad, they are very, very, bad". I like it better as a preface. Here are some of her gelatin facts:

Fruits that float- Apple cubes, bananas slices, strawberry halves, marshmallows, broken nut meats.

Fruits that sink- canned peaches and pears, grapes, fresh orange sections, whole strawberries, prunes and plums.

Jello and gelatin are not the same, be sure you use the one called for in the recipe.

Moisten the plate and the molded salad surface with wet fingers before you unmold it. It will be easier to slide it to the middle of the plate.

Never boil the liquid and gelatin together, don't add fresh pineapple.

This one describes the problems a lot of people have with molded salads: "Too much gelatin or a scarcity of seasoning makes molded salads a poor eating experience. Do not add more gelatin to bring it along, as you get the rubbery glue taste that goes with an overdose of it."

You can't get more retro than prunes, this is her recipe for prune aspic, a salad that I doubt has been made by anyone for many a year. Her comment: "Among the various fruits I have molded there have been more requests for Prune Salad than perhaps and other. Could be because it was so often served for a buffet and is striking to the eye? Simple beyond words. It is especially good with turkey and ham."

Prune Aspic

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

3 1/2 cups canned prune juice, hot

4 cups canned prunes, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Dissolve gelatin in the cold water. Add to hot prune juice and when partially congealed add prunes and lemon juice. Pour into a ring mold and chill. Turn out on a silver tray and garnish with whatever you please. Fill the center with cream cheese beaten up with light cream until the consistency of whipped cream. Sprinkle top with grated lemon or orange peel.

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