Comebacks we'd like to see: #15 -- Green gelatin as a salad


This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.

A friend from Minnesota claims that among his state's peculiar distinguishing characteristics is that green Jello is classified as a salad. I had to admit that, in my childhood, I'd been similarly mystified. At church buffets, I'd eyed with suspicion the ring of shimmering emerald translucence surrounding, of all things, mayonnaise.

For years, I couldn't bring myself to take a scoop of this then common side dish, in which cucumbers, celery and carrots float in a horseradish-tainted green gelatin, much less garnish it with a dollop of Hellman's or Miracle Whip. But finally, probably under the watchful eyes of some relative who took great pride in her creation, I gave it a try.

To my surprise; I liked it. And just as quickly, it disappeared from the buffet tables. Like bell bottoms and madras plaid, the Jello salad had suddenly been declared passe, replaced with ethnic dishes or nouveau veggies like the jicama. My grandmother would have taken one bite of a jicama and declared it two hours of boiling short of edible. She, and those of her generation, were firm believers in soft food.

And there's nothing softer than Jello.

What buffet treats do you miss?

Originally published