Virgin Recipe: Molded Potato Salad


If only all the Jell-O molds could turn out as well as this one…

Here we arrive at another exciting savory Jell-O recipe. No mystery about this one – it’s really just a potato salad given shape and hold by a packet of Jell-O.

I have surprisingly few grumbles about this one. The chief grumble is the stupid imprecision with which American recipes were, and are, written. Molded Potato Salad calls for four cups of cooked and diced potatoes, which sounds straightforward until you’re about to peel and cook the potatoes, and you realize that you don’t have a good idea of how many whole potatoes will make four cups diced. I had to guess, and, okay, five potatoes worked out to be about the right amount, but I kept thinking about how much simpler it would have been if I had just had to, say, measure out 500 grams of potatoes on our kitchen scale; then I wouldn’t have had to worry, right up until I was filling up the ring mold, whether I had cooked enough potatoes.


Selfie in my new vintage blouse. Bryan said I looked like I’d just stepped out of McCall’s.

Molded Potato Salad is essentially a bavarian made with mayonnaise instead of cream. That sounds pretty nasty, but it turned out to be not so bad. It unmolded beautifully, and even in the eating it wasn’t awful. Bryan would argue with this (he ate some, picking the potato and bacon bits out of the Jell-O/mayonnaise base) but the main problem was a lack of seasoning, which apart from the bacon came mainly in the form of a packet of Good Seasons Italian dressing powder whisked together with a few tablespoons of vinegar. Chopped celery and onion, maybe some chopped bell pepper, garlic salt and fresh-ground pepper would have been a huge improvement. Even so, this was far from the worst Jell-O recipe I’ve done so far, in either the original project or the reboot. With unflavored gelatin, some crunchy fresh veggies, and decent seasoning, this would be at least as good as a standard potato salad.

But really, the main point of this one, and the reason for the emphasis on not being afraid to suck, was to continue learning to make videos – in front of the camera, behind the camera, and the editing process on the computer. Also, I had the idea of trying out some vintage clothes. Shopping is another thing I’m not very good at, but I had a go in the vintage section at the Garment District, and had a little success. If nothing else, I realized that the trend of fuller sleeves in the 1970s means that I can be reasonably sure vintage blouses will fit over my muscular arms.

I’m not especially proud of the way the video turned out, but I’m posting it anyway. For me, at least, it’s been instructional. Some problems (the technical ones) can be solved by throwing a few ducats at them. Getting more comfortable in front of the camera is just going to take practice. That’s the thing about not being afraid to suck. If you persevere in spite of sucking, eventually you’ll find that you don’t suck anymore. So here’s hoping….

Bryan and I ate some of this for lunch, but certainly more than half went down the garbage disposal. A donation has been made to Action Against Hunger to atone for this waste of food.

4 responses

  1. Yay video! Watch the backlighting, fill from the front. Some closeups of the food are needed.

    Also: Ew.


    1. Yeah, our kitchen is awkwardly oriented when it comes to natural lighting. I posted a second video that gives a way closer look at the food….


  2. […] with the Molded Potato Salad, the Jell-O, vinegar, bouillon and pepper are combined, cooled until slightly thickened, and then […]


  3. […] So I ventured out of my motel room in Novac and into my kitchen to make Cool Coleslaw Salad. There isn’t actually a whole lot to say about this one. The base is lemon Jell-O, but otherwise it’s not so different from a standard, non-gelatinous coleslaw. In that sense, it’s a close cousin to Molded Potato Salad. […]


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