Where did Jellied Salads Come From?

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jul 17, 2015 10:20 AM

At some point we've all made, enjoyed or questioned with raised eyebrow a dish that looks like dessert but acts like a side salad. Who was the first person to think carrots and radishes would be good inside a gelatin mould? It's hard to pinpoint who that brave culinary crafter was, though the first popular gelatin salad - named Old-Fashioned Perfection Salad, which called for cabbage, celery and green pepper - dates back to around 1904. It was the runner-up entry in a cooking contest and was used to help sell packs of gelatin. 

In the 1930s, gelatin salads were all the rage in the U.S. and the Jell-O company jumped on board with a new lime flavour to complement the types of recipes that were popular. Later Jell-O added savoury flavours, such as celery and tomato, to their powdered packs - understandably, those flavours didn’t last. The company even published a cookbook of all the amazing things you could serve inside a Jello-O mould.

Perhaps it was the American influence through the U.S. military installations that brought these recipes to Newfoundland and Labrador, or maybe it was the rise of radios and televisions in homes and the American commercials. Whatever the case, the people of this province did not miss out on the Jello-O salad movement.

The following is a classic recipe submitted to our Everyday Recipes website. Try this one and let us know what you think of it, or submit your own to add to our collections at www.everydayrecipes.ca.

Cucumber Jellied Salad

1 pkg lime Jell-O

3/4 cup boiling water

3/4 cup unpeeled cucumber, grated

2 tbsp onions, grated

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1 green pepper, grated (optional)

Combine Jell-O and boiling water. Let mixture cool, but not set. Combine cucumber and onions; drain well. Add green pepper (optional). Mix in the cottage cheese and mayonnaise and set in refrigerator. Submitted by Joyce Marshall

We asked our Facebook friends, what was the strangest thing you’ve eaten inside Jell-O? Here are the most interesting responses:


"Cottage cheese"


"Green peas in lime jello. Yuck!”

“Olives & it was really good.” 



“Vienna sausages”