Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity: Jellied Cream of Mushroom

You know how people are always saying, “Soup could be so great… if only it was a little more solid“? Okay, so people aren’t always saying that. In fact, people probably only say it on very rare occasions. And “people” is probably an overstatement, too. BUT… for that one person who wishes their soup was a little more solid, this is the recipe for YOU!

Jellied cream of mushroom soup on a plate, surrounded by salad greens and fish crackers.

Here it is again: that mid-century obsession with turning EVERYTHING into a gelatin mold. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Did the world really need a wobbly gray mound of soup on a plate? Would a well-turned soup mold make your dinner guests overlook the slightly burnt roast and the sub-standard gin in the Tom Collins you just made? What magical properties did gelatin have in those days?

Since one of the only ingredients with any flavor to it at all is cream of mushroom soup, it is unsurprising that the molds taste like cream of mushroom soup. That can be a nice comfort food for a cold day, but typically only when served hot. And let’s be honest here: even when it’s hot, mushroom soup isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s like a pair of comfortable sweatpants that you can pull on in the morning because they’re easy and warm, but you have no illusions about them being high style.

So, for Jellied Cream of Mushroom, 10 points for finding a way to work with the ingredients that are already in your pantry, but minus 50 points for texture, temperature, and everything else.

Jellied cream of mushroom soup, before unmolding.

  1. Sprinkle 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin on ½ cup cold water to soften.
  2. Blend together 1 cup water and 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup and heat, but do not boil.
  3. Add softened gelatin and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Add 2 teaspoons grated onion.
  4. Pour into a 3-cup mold or in individual molds and chill until firm.
  5. Unmold on salad greens and serve with salad dressing.
  6. Makes 4 servings.

The recipe featured in this post is from the Gel-Cookery Recipe Book, published as a promotional booklet by Knox Gelatine (Canada) Ltd. in 1959.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

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