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June 6, 2012

Glistening And Jiggly Gelatin Finalist #1 –Tomato Ham Salad Loaf

By RetroRuth

This is it! This is IT! It’s finally here. Out of over 50 submissions, I’ve tested 28 gelatins and Tom has tasted every single one.  We took pictures, we made notes and we even fought about who the finalists were. So it has come down to this: Not only are we ready to start announcing winners, but we are going to be picking more winners. And we can do that. I can do it because it’s my blog, and Tom can do it because he is the poor sap that had to suck down all that Jell-O.  So, the changes will be as follows:

1. There will now be FOUR finalists for the Worst Gelatin, but you guys will still get to pick the Grand Prize Winner.

2. There will now be FOUR winners for Best Gelatin (One first place, and three recipes tied for second place).

3. There will be a RetroRuth’s Choice Winner in addition to the Tom’s Pick Winner.

3. There are MORE PRIZES. Christy from OrWa Designs has added a set of their handmade coasters into the mix, which I am seriously jealous over. And Tom and I have thrown in some more goodies from our collections, too.

But enough about prizes and winners.

Well, not really, because here is the first finalist for the Worst Category:


This is Tomato Ham Salad Loaf.

And it tastes like crap.


Tomato Ham Salad Loaf

2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup ground cooked ham
1 teaspoon mustard
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
9 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons cream

Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. Combine tomato juice, onion, salt, pepper, and sugar, heat to boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Cool. Combine ham, mustard, and mayonnaise. Thin cream cheese with cream. Pour 1/3 of tomato mixture into loaf pan (8 1/2 x 5 x 3 inches). Chill until firm. Spread ham mixture on top and cover with half of remaining tomato mixture. Chill until firm. Spread with cream cheese and cover with last of tomato mixture. Chill until firm. Unmold on a platter, garnish with greens.


This little lovely was sent to us by thatmidcenturyfella, who wrote the following nice note to try to make up for this stinker of a recipe:

I am in love with your blog. I am not sucking up, I promise. Just me being honest. You helped inspire me to start blogging too!

Here is my recipe I found in a vintage cookbook recently that was gag worthy. From the glamorous line of "aspic recipes"… Tomato Ham Salad Loaf. (From "500 Tasty Snacks: Ideas for Entertaining" 1954)

It kinda makes you question what was actually legal back then, don’t it?

Keep up the good work!


Well, if by “keep up the good work” you mean, “keep making recipes that we send you no matter how disgusting they seem”, then mission accomplished!


Really, really accomplished. I even got all the layers and everything!

Not that it matters much for the taste, but at least it looks good.




“Whose idea was this?”

“Quiet. It is hard to take pictures of you when you are talking.”


“This is really…not good.”


From Tom’s testing notes:

Not good. The flavors just did not combine correctly. The cream cheese and tomato layers were too strong and totally overpowered the ham layer.

From my testing notes:

Blargh! Totally disgusting! Made me gag. I could barely get one mouthful down.

Don’t get me wrong. I love tomato juice. I love cream cheese. I even love ham salad. But this was an abomination. In the future I will enjoy all these flavors separately, and shall never mix them again!

The Verdict: Nasty.

Congrats to thatmidcenturyfella, the first finalist for the Worst Gelatin Recipe!

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7 Responses to Glistening And Jiggly Gelatin Finalist #1 –Tomato Ham Salad Loaf

  1. thatmidcenturyfella Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Thanks! This is great! However, I have mixed emotions. I’m thrilled I was chosen, but sad my recipes make people nearly vomit.

    My favorite part is that this is from a book called “500 Tasty Snacks: Ideas for Entertaining”… you know, for when you want your party to end early.

  2. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Congratulations to him! I can’t even stand the texture of tomato juice when it’s liquid so I can’t even *imagine* this.

  3. Yinzerella Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Tomato aspic. Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt. It’s just not right.
    But can I commend you on the lovely layering? Even if it tasted like crap, your presentation was wonderful.

  4. Laura Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Points for presentation! That’s all I can say without heaving just a little! 😛

  5. Angela Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Oh wow. Wow. It’s like my mom’s sandwich slurry plus tomato aspic, how very, very wrong. It sure does glisten, though, and you did a beautiful job getting it layered so nicely!

  6. Pat in PA Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I had a hilarious laugh over your comment, “It tastes like crap”…such honesty. I’m always amazed at pictures of your husband eating…I think he would weigh 600 pounds by now from all the recipe testing–you’re a good man, Tom…You just need a little more facial or body expression whether it’s really good, or REALLY bad! 🙂

  7. FlyingTexan Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I am catching up on my NPR (been on vacation and am soo far behind!) and this one just made me burst out laughing. Congratulations (I think) to the winner. Can you imagine the person that came up with this recipe? What on earth were they thinking? I can’t wait to read about the rest of the entrants. Serious kudos to you both ~ RetroRuth for the lovely presentation and Tom, for agreeing to taste test all of the entries. Brave, brave man. 😉

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