When you think of coleslaw, do you think of gelatin? No? Too bad, because the two come together in an unholy union for this recipe.
It comes to us from Best Recipes From the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars, which is a pretty self-explanatory title. Chapter after chapter offers up recipes that appeared on packages of commercial products. The majority of them are innocuous: a pork-chop barbecue sauce using Kikkoman Soy Sauce, corn fritters fried in Planter’s Peanut Oil, appetizers made with Bisquick, dessert toppings made with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.
But there are also losers: meatloaf made with Wheat Chex. (I may be unkind here; I don’t like meatloaf, so I’d be hard-pressed to find a package recipe I did approve of.) Macaroni salad made with tomato sauce. (“I bet you never thought of putting Hunt’s Tomato Sauce in a salad, but what goes better than tomato sauce with macaroni?” Oh, I don’t know—cheese?) “Rodeo Hash” with canned condensed mushroom soup. And this jellied coleslaw.
Coleslaw gets a bum rap. It’s sort of the default picnic or sandwich side. At the diners where we like to eat, little cups of coleslaw are offered alongside sandwiches and wraps, and seem to go back untouched most of the time, passed over for waffle fries and dill pickles. Coleslaw isn’t bad if it’s properly spiced and leans toward the tangy side. I have trouble believing that anybody who was bored with coleslaw would really think, “Maybe if it were in a wobbly gelatin cube instead…”
Cool ’N Creamy Coleslaw
If you are tired of “just coleslaw” whip up this special molded version. It’s been a favorite since the recipe appeared on the Knox Gelatine package decades ago.
2 envelopes Knox Unflavored Gelatine
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ¾ cups boiling water
1 ¾ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ cup finely chopped onion
In large bowl, mix Knox Unflavored Gelatine and sugar; add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. With wire whisk or rotary beater, blend in mayonnaise and lemon juice; chill until mixture is consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Stir in cabbage, carrots and onion; pour into 11 x 7-inch pan and chill until firm. To serve, cut into squares. Makes about 8 servings.
From Best Recipes From the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars. Ceil Dyer. New York: Galahad Books, 1992.