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Throwback of the House: The Pickle Stretcher Salad Is Not Funny

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Todd Ehlers, Wikimedia Commons
No one can beat a joke dead into the dirt like I can. Since last week's meat-stretching edition of Throwback, my brain has been on a giant innuendo feedback loop. You know what cracked me up? Pickle Stretcher!

Oh, the hilarity of the Pickle Stretcher Salad recipe in 1969's Salads Cookbook! Over 500 salad recipes, and not a one contains fresh vegetables!

That's an exaggeration. I'm sure some of the recipes are more in line with the fresh vegetable concoctions that mean "salad" to us. There's a lot more gelatin than produce in this book, though. Jell-O's official website claims that congealed salads became popular around 1930. Gelatin's relatively cheap, and even though it's not brimming with nutritional goodness, it can make a little bit of food go further during depressed economic times.

If you're in such bad financial shape that you need to make pickles go further, you probably shouldn't be spending your time making fancy gelatin molds.

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Gisela Francisco, Wikimedia Commons
In this case, take lemon gelatin and fill it with chopped dill pickles and green olives. The recipe's creator claims that it "makes a tart relish for meat."

I went to two stores and couldn't find lemon Jell-O. I think it's getting the pseudoephedrine treatment, being kept behind the counter not because it's inherently bad, but because very bad things can be made from it.

I substituted lime, which Jell-O created just for congealed salads.

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Robin Wheeler
The Pickle Stretcher Salad gave me the most visceral reaction I have ever had to a food-like item. I love olives, dill pickles and just about anything limey, but combining the three left me with a shiver that wouldn't stop traveling my spine. One bite, and I'm sure I will never, ever forget the texture of slime and crunchy, the taste of ammonia and acid.

From now on, when penis-enlargement-based humor enters my radar, the flavor of this salad will pour from my memory as punishment. This salad has sucked the joy from my life.

Heh. "Sucked."

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom. After years of making and eating fancy food, Robin is sick of it all. She's returning to the basics: recipes that haven't surfaced in three decades. She reports on the results for Gut Check every Tuesday.

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