vitamin A jello salad

vitamin A jello salad
Molly McIntire was always my least favorite American Girl. I found her escapades trite, her personality off-putting, and her glasses absolutely disgusting. This was probably because at the time – the early 90s – large bug-eyed glasses were in style and man were they ever ugly [and now they’re trendy again… good thing none of my loggers have the fashion sense of hip city-dwellers, or else I might have to punch their lenses in].

I much preferred Felicity, because she had gorgeous red hair and liked horses, or Samantha, because she had that one bitchin’ sailor outfit. Like the unfortunate Kirsten doll maligned by ugly grayish hair, the Molly doll was consumed by her dumb face-hogging glasses.

I clearly never looked too hard into the Molly situation, because after spending a recent weekend afternoon staring dreamily at her illustrated face, I have to admit that I was quite wrong. She’s pretty darn cute, and those glasses are adorable. Plus, she grew up in the ’40s.

Daydreaming what life would be like could I travel in time takes up roughly 20% of my brain’s creative space. Last Saturday, for instance, those dreams took me back to the mid-1800s, to life on the Oregon Trail. If only I could see the plains as they were and the first nation tribes before they were boxed off into reservations, could experience a truly difficult life, could caulk the wagon and float. As enticing as death by cholera sounds, however, my illness-prone self would do better in a more modern era with miracle drugs as an option. And the 1940s is the decade that I would most like to visit.

Attractive fitted dresses. Men with pleated pants and hats intended for use outside of baseball games. Cocktail hour featuring cocktails, rather than Bud Light. Quality kitchenware made anywhere but China. Floral wallpaper and checkerboard floor tiles. Food rationing leading to inventive cakes made with mayonnaise. Spam. Unmatched patriotism and community spirit.

molly's cookbook vitamin A jello salad
I found this jello salad  – which looks like an over-sized hamburger, don’t you think? – in my copy of Molly’s Cook Book, part of the American Girls Pastimes series, released in 1994. The recipe repulsed me, as I’m sure it does you, but it was ridiculous enough that I thought it would make a lovely splash here on the internet. Plus, it taught me that cottage cheese isn’t actually half bad. Which was a surprise.

Vitamin A Jello Salad {recipe from Molly’s Cook Book}


3-oz package of lemon gelatin
1 c. boiling hot water
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or 1/2 a lemon
1 c. “apricot nectar” (I used Ceres apricot juice)
1 c. cottage cheese
1 large carrot
15-oz can of apricots
Lettuce leaves, for decoration


In a medium mixing bowl, combine gelatin and hot water, and stir until dissolved. Add lemon juice and apricot juice and mix well.

Rinse a gelatin mold or aluminum bowl in cold water. Pour 1 cup of the gelatin mixture into the mold. Either let set 20-30 minutes in the fridge first, or spoon cottage cheese in directly. Pour another 1/2 c. of the gelatin into the mold. Place in the fridge to set while preparing the rest of the salad.

Grate the carrot – it should measure ~ 1 cup. Drain the can of apricots, the cut apricots into small cubes. Add carrots and apricots to remaining gelatin, and stir well. Let the gelatin mold cooling in the fridge continue to set until it is stiff enough to withstand the weight of the remaining ingredients. When ready, spoon the carrot-apricot-gelatin mixture on top. Cover the mold with plastic wrap and let set at least four hours or overnight.

Cover the serving platter with decorative lettuce leaves (I used lettuce and cabbage). Take the gelatin mold out of the fridge, and let sink in warm water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When it appears to have loosened up, turn it over onto the serving plate to unmold it.

vitamin A jello salad

In other news, my boyfriend shared this article with me last night. And the photo below is the most perfect man / cat combination that I’ve ever seen. So beautiful. I adore the Amazon description for Alexandra Crockett’s book, which goes a little something like “Metal isn’t all dark and disturbing, violent and misanthropic. Metal Cats is proof that while the music may be brutal, the people in the scene are softies for their pets just like you and me.”

Stuff like this is definitely enough to make me glad that I live when I do. You wouldn’t be seeing any of these Metal Cats on the shelves in 1940s-era war-torn households.

metal cats

18 thoughts on “vitamin A jello salad

  1. Molly was your least favorite!!?!? Girl, please. I had a Molly doll; she was the business. And I loved her glasses. But how did I not own her delightful cookbook? This recipe is outrageous. I mean, I love it, but really? I think the carrots just push it over the edge for me.

    Also, I can’t stop laughing to comment on Metal Cats. That is too great.

    1. I’m sorry! Thinking back, there was so much hate all centered on that poor made-up girl. I dunno, I can’t explain. But I think she’s aight now.

      This recipe is ridiculous. I must have laughed for ten minutes when I saw it, and then I decided I had to make it:)

  2. I hope you’ll forgive me for just catching up on your blog now! I think I had the Samantha American Doll…I also think I probably played with her a total of maybe 10 times (sorry mom for wasting your $$!). I actually love a good jello salad but have only had the ones with like fruit, nuts and marshmallows…cottage cheese is a new addition to me. Love the metal cats!!!

    1. I didn’t play with mine too much, but I stared into their glassy eyes for hours on end, enjoying their company. We had conversations. We perused the American Girl catalog together. And to this day, if I see an AG catalog, I can’t help but be engrossed in it for at least 30 minutes!

  3. Man, is this ever a trip down memory lane. I had Felicity and Addy, but read all the books for all the girls and especially loved the cookbooks for Molly and Kirsten (St. Lucia buns!). I think it’s hilarious that you chose to make Vitamin A jell-o salad. I’m not sure I could get into it, but then, I do actually like cottage cheese…

    1. Hi Kate! I am tres jalouse that you had the Felicity doll, man was she cool. I had the Felicity riding outfit, and I spent a lot of time imagining how much awesomer my life would be if that riding habit was me-sized.

      I have the Kirsten cookbook too…. maybe I’ll make something out of that next:) And this salad is pretty silly, I agree!

  4. Hey–There’s always room for Jello!
    (and how did those people get their cats to sit on their shoulders like little monkeys?)

    1. SO TRUE. I have plenty of room for Jello right now, for instance.

      All those kitties are so cute! Especially the one above, look at those paws!!

  5. i’m happy your feelings on Molly ended up the way they did: i LOVED Molly, although i think my favorite was Samantha at the time. I went through my “i want to be a pioneer” phase early on (see school project in 4th grade where i made a bonnet and quilt and did a massive project on all the Little House on the Prairie books), and i really liked both the victorian era and the 40’s. And i totally remember this cookbook! i don’t think i had it, but maybe. tThe 40’s and 50’s were really the Golden Age for Jell-O salads, right?
    I love daydreaming: i do the same as you in re: daydreaming about time travel and what it would be like to have lived in different eras. I typically visit the early sixties on the east coast, the forties, also the fifties and sixties in britain, which was interesting, and sometimes i go all Downton Abbey on things. It always seems so lovely until you realize that some really basic stuff you can’t live without didn’t exist at those times, but still.
    metal cats! i saw this yesterday floating around the Facebooks. sometimes the internet is good to us. :)

    1. I remember we did some sort of unit in one of my elementary school classes and it was centered around the Kirsten doll, and Kirsten’s traditions (St. Lucia probably). That’s where I realized how the poor doll had gray hair, instead of blond. And I felt sad for her.

      There is so much I wish I could catch a glimpse of. That’s all I want, is a glimpse. And maybe a bit more really, maybe an afternoon with tea and cake, and a chat with people from another time and place. That’s why I love watching Highlander and Doctor Who so much – flashbacks and time travel! Though let’s be honest, Shannon, we’re probably as intrigued as we are because we want the clothes and home furnishings – – am I right?

  6. Molly was my least favorite too. It happened to be the doll my sister had (which might have had something to do with it….lol)

  7. I know nothing of American Girl. I believe they made their debut when I was in late high school or heading to university. I did enjoy Conan’s visit to the store {}.

    Also, I adore cottage cheese.

    1. I enjoyed Conan’s visit as well. The restaurant scene got a little uncomfortable as all Conan’s antics seem to do.

      Is there any Canadian Girl? I probably know the answer to that one.

  8. AAAAAAAH I HAD THE KIRSTEN COOKBOOK (and craft book and the play, as well as the play/scripts for Addy) and I GREW UP LOVING AND ALWAYS PLAYING THE OREGON TRAIL EMMA I LOVE YOU we are twins so completely and utterly aaaaah please come visit before I leave Canada!!!!!!! We will have more in depth conversations about American Girls fo’shiz. xoxo

  9. Oh man, I used to read American Girls a lot as a kid – I was a big fan of Kirsten though (how could you *not* want that hair? And to live in the prairie with that big open sky? Fageddaboudit!). I never had a doll, though; that shit’s expensive!

    …Also, you’re right – there is absolutely nothing that could convince me that I want a jello salad. Dear, that doesn’t even *sound* appealing, let alone look it! :D /shudders How did it taste…?

And now I'd like to pass the mic / So you c'mon and do anything you like ...aka, Leave your reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s