In nature, a bright shade of red often screams, “Stop! Don’t eat me, you fool!” But what kind of dull existence would it be if I listened to reason? No. When wild Beet and Horseradish Mold warns me with its brilliant hue, I scoff. Do your worst, I say!
To be honest, the rich ruby color of this gelatin mold is quite pretty. But even gem tones aren’t going to save this dish. To be even more honest, the taste is much less than pretty. It tastes like relish. Like a really vinegary beet relish. Can you imagine sitting down in front of an entire plate of beet relish and knowing you had to finish it over the next few days? Can you look into the unblinking eye of the gelatin-mold storm without going mad? I’ve eaten things, man! Things you can’t even imagine!
*Ahem.* Now, where was I? Oh yes.
The recipe recommends filling the center with mayonnaise, but mayonnaise doesn’t exactly photograph well. (And I didn’t want to waste mayonnaise that could potentially go on to be in perfectly good BLTs.) I did, however, try a small dish of this gelatin with a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise on top. I… I don’t really get it. I’m not sure what the mayo adds to it. For that matter, how is one supposed to eat this? Are we supposed to eat slices of this gelatinized beet relish as a side dish? Is it supposed to be a salad? I tried it as a dip for cruditÃ©s, as well, thinking that maybe it’s supposed to be a more solid version of a vinaigrette, but it kept falling off the vegetables.
I’m not a beet hater. I like a good borscht. I don’t usually mind sliced beets in a salad or cooked beets as a side dish. Beets are okay anywhere but the front of a new white shirt. They’ve never bothered me. But, dear reader, after consuming this entire mold, I could start to see where the haters were coming from. Please forgive me if I don’t want to see another beet for the next month or so.
Drain liquid from beets; add water to make 1½ cups. Heat liquid and vinegar; add gelatin and dissolve. Add salt and onion juice; chill until partially set. Chop beets finely; stir into gelatin with horseradish and celery. Pour into 8″ ring mold or individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold on lettuce and top with mayonnaise. 6 to 8 servings.
This recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s New Good and Easy Cook Book, published in 1962.