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A Vintage Easter: 7 Recipes from the Days of Jell-O Salads

POSTED BY Shanlon Gilbert April 8, 2019

Have you heard? The Easter Bunny is coming to Debert! He’s going to be leaving all kinds of treats at the bunker, so don’t miss the Bunny Bunker next weekend.

In the meantime, whether you’re religious or just enjoy the promise of warmer weather that comes with springtime, grab some friends, some food, and relax. Spring is here. Enjoy spending time with people you love, and be thankful you’re enjoying some tasty treats like chocolate, ham, and scalloped potatoes, instead of these… intriguing takes on “food.”

We’ve put together the perfect Easter meal to help you appreciate the wonders of modern cuisine.

Apparently “loaf” meant something a little different in the 60s. No retro meal would be complete without one of these mayonnaise-laden monstrosities. They layer so beautifully, are full of attractive colours, and I’m dead certain they had a very particular smell.  This one is perfect to start off your Easter feast, because it prominently features the very thematic eggs.


I dare you to guess what ingredients make up this “egg-y marvel.” Go on, have a think. Examine that yellow, pink, red, and white sculpture of edible delights and do your darndest to pick out anything familiar.

Ready for this?

We’ve got:

  • Eggs (of course) – specifically mashed egg yolks
  • Firm, day-old bread (I mean it can’t be too fresh right?)
  • Cream of mushroom soup (a staple)
  • Onion juice (I don’t – do you run them through a juicer? Squeeze them like a lemon? Did you buy it pre-juiced at the store???)
  • Top with mayonnaise, I’m certain, pimientos (when’s the last time you saw an honest-to-goodness pimiento pepper outside of an olive?), and parmesan cheese

I think the parmesan might make this somewhat edible! Which is a great start to this meal. Next we’ll need…

Nothing says “spring” more than new life. Baby bunnies, fluffy yellow chicks, and of course, prancing lambs.

And then we eat the lambs, because they are delicious.

Now, the typical advice for lamb is to serve it rare. Lamb chops in particular are a tender, flavourful cut, that don’t need to be cooked more than a couple minutes a side, if you’re doing them chop-style, or carefully roasted on high heat as a rack. If I was trying to make something delicious, I’d probably put a dry rub of rosemary, salt, pepper, and a little olive oil on the fatty side of the chop. It really adds a wonderful aroma to the meat.

But today I’m looking for the worst of the worst, and I can’t imagine doing anything worse to lamb than overcooking it, setting it in jelly, and covering it with capers. Salty, briny, pickled crocus buds, mm-mm. Then you throw in some tomato and sweet peppers, and finish it off with some nice carrots and eggs, you know, because spring.

The recipe says to fry or boil the lamb.

Pro-tip: if a recipe asks you to boil lamb and it’s not a recipe for soup stock, run.

If there’s one thing the 60s got right it was a love of pickles.

Pickles are great! They’re salty, crunchy, often sweet, strongly flavoured, sour (I love sour, don’t judge), tangy, maybe spicy, and low-cal, low-fat, and often low-sugar. As long as your blood pressure’s okay, pickles are your friend. In decades past they were an inexpensive shelf-stable staple that brought a little green joy to the vegetableless months. They’re great for hydratin’ too, full of water and electrolytes.

Yay, pickles!

Boo pickle-stretcher salad!

This combination of citrus jell-o and salty pickled cucumbers and olives makes my mouth water in the worst way.

It’s cool. It’s refreshing? It’s… probably not delicious.

Spring means climbing temperatures, and that means, after an entire winter of hot soups, it’s time to shake things up a bit. Like, by placing your can of Campbell’s condensed consommé in the fridge instead of the pantry. Come dinner time, open it up, chop the gelatinous broth into bits of “gleaming consommé” and serve! Simple as pie!

If that pie is gelatin in a can.

Why was everything in jello? Why was everything either a loaf or a pie?

What was happening in the 60s?

To my grandmothers: why were people doing this?

Main Course: Ham Banana Rolls

This is your Easter Ham.

This is what Chiquita Banana did to ham.

It’s bananas, wrapped in ham, smothered in CHEESE.

I think it’s time to end this meal.

Dessert: Del Monte Prune Whip

This actually sounds pretty good.

Look, I know prunes got a bad rap as an “old-person food,” just cause they help regulate your BMs. But I stand by prunes as a tasty snack. This beauty is basically a meringue with lemon and dried plums.

You know what, let’s just call this one “Preserved Plum Meringue.” That has a modern, hip, artisinal sound to it.

Bon Appétit

Let’s all be grateful we don’t live in the 60s and we get to enjoy more modern takes on Easter dinner. Like a good ham steak, or a beautifully roasted spring chicken, or some rare rack of lamb. For the non-carniverous, there’s tofurkey, lentils and walnuts, and all kinds of delicious alternatives.


And of course: Chocolate.


Don’t forget to come out to the bunker next Saturday, April 20th, to join us in hunting down all the tasty treats the Easter Bunny is bringing to the bunker! And for those who don’t like candy (no judgement) there’s always egg colouring, fun and games, and the Great Bates Egg Drop!


See you there!

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