Perfection Salad - Vintage RecipeHere’s a recipe article from 1963 published in the Better Homes & Gardens magazine featuring a recipe entered in a contest in 1904 (Fannie Farmer was one of the judges).

The article is typed below along with a scanned copy of the full page, click it to view larger if you like.

Old-fashioned Perfection Salad


Old-Fashioned Perfection Salad - Click To View LargerOnce upon a time, in 1904 to be exact, a recipe called Perfection Salad won third prize, a $100 sewing machine, for Mrs. John E. Cook of New Castle, Pennsylvania.

Among the judges was Fannie Farmer of cooking school fame, crusader for level measures. The first and second prize entries in the “receipt” contest are forgotten, but the runner-up is here to stay.

Perfection Salad has been a winner at the dinner table for generations. It was originally published in a gelatin advertisement the year following that contest of long ago and was described as a “delicious accompaniment to cold sliced chicken or veal.” Mrs. Cook herself said it was “especially fine with fried oysters” and wrote in her entry that she planned to have it at her next church supper.

So excellent was Mrs. Cook’s recipe that today’s version is amazingly like hers. Through the years, we have printed popular Perfection Salad many times.

Thoroughly mix 2 envelopes (2 tablespoons) unflavored gelatin, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve gelatin. Then add 1 1/2 cups cold water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice–see top picture. Chill till partially set.

Now add 2 cups finely shredded cabbage–for easy shredding, have cabbage refrigerator-cold. Also add 1 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, 1/4 cup diced pimiento, and 1/3 cup stuffed green-olive slices–second photograph. Pour into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Chill the salad mold until firm.

Just before mealtime, unmold and garnish your salad. For the carrot flower, remember to crisp the carrot curls ahead in ice water; then it will take only seconds to arrange them with ripe olives, as shown. Note that carrot curls are seam side down.

Cut salad in 8 to 10 slices. And pass a bowl of mayonnaise–Mrs. Cook did, too! In her recipe, she gave this alternate serving suggestion: “Cut in dice and serve in cases made of red or green peppers.”

We think Perfection Salad is perfect with baked ham, a pot roast–almost any meat we can think of. Its tang and crunch and calico colors can rescue an otherwise undistinguished meal. It is simple, costs little. A great recipe!

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One Response to Old-Fashioned Perfection Salad

Published 28 December, 2021 in 10:47 pm

My maternal grandmother used to serve this regularly! She used lime jello and omitted the bell peppers but added the sliced carrots. She and my grandfather put mayonnaise on top. It was gross. I just wanted lime jello plain.

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