Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuna Ring (Jell-O #3)

It has long been an obsession of mine to research vintage Jell-O recipes, and when my great friend Karen started a Mid-Century Supper Club Pot Luck where participants are to re-create, in faithful detail, a vintage recipe and present it in corresponding vintage serve-ware, I though to myself: It must be Jell-O. But not just any Jell-O, because I frequently make plain Jell-O, fruit-added Jell-O, marshmallow Jell-O, even adding Jell-O to cake mix if I need a quick cake that tastes better than cake mix. But this event called for a new Jell-O experience, one that, regrettably, featured tuna fish.

Heck, if it was considered good enough to publish in a national cook book, how bad could it be? Um, bad. Fearfully bad, in fact. The sad thing is, it didn’t even look delightful, but was murky – a warning, perhaps, of what lurked inside! I took plain gelatin and added mayonnaise, chopped onions, celery and tuna fish. On purpose. And lovingly served it on a bed of lettuce. And I think I actually ate a bite! I know of one other person who did, but it was not actually a hit. But it was one of those things, you know, you just HAVE to do - once.

Sadly, not a single photograph exists of the concoction, so all I can do here is to reproduce the elegant full-color photo from the 1963 edition of Better Homes and Gardens “Lunches and Brunches”. This is a book full of fun photos of what sound like barely edible yet time-consuming recipes, all served on glorious mid-century table finery. Such contradiction! Such adventure!

Tuna Ring

1 envelope (1 Tbsp) unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water

1 can condensed tomato soup
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup sliced stuffed green olives
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup chopped pimiento
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 6-ounce cans (2 cups) tuna, in chunks

Soften gelatin in cold water. Heat soup to boiling. Add gelatin; stir till dissolved. Add cream cheese, beat smooth with electric or rotary beater. Blend in salad dressing; stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a 5-cup ring-mold; chill firm. To serve, garnish with greens (See picture page 45). Makes 6 to 8 servings.


  1. I appreciate your try anything once attitude! Being that gelatin is like bone marrow (gelatinous) maybe it could be improved with a good beef stock? I'm reaching here, but I too love a challenge!! And a good beef stock, for that matter! :)

  2. I can't believe that we never got a photo of that. But then again... ;)

    Are you following the 1972 WW Blog? She did Tuna in Jell-O, too!


  3. Ann, I'm just not sure I can bring myself to work on this one again, it was too gross! But there are more, SO MANY MORE... ;)

    And Karen, I NEED THE LINK TO THAT BLOG, sounds SUPER FAB! :)