Lime Jello Salad, an Incongruous Mixture

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines salad as  “a usually incongruous mixture. A hodgepodge.” I suppose based upon this, I would concede that the combination of lime jello, cream cheese, cream, pineapple and pecans does constitute a salad.

The suspension of fruits and vegetables in gelatin was introduced to us in 1905 by Mrs. John Cooke, who won third prize in a cooking contest sponsored by Knox Gelatin. Her “Perfection Salad”, an aspic studded with cabbage, celery, and red pepper, “unleashed a demand for congealed salads that has grown alarmingly, particularly in the suburbs.”, says James Beard in the 1972 edition of James Beard’s American Cookery.

This type of salad has been dubbed an American innovation. And the ingenuity of American homemakers was resolutely demonstrated during the depression. The need to stretch ingredients as far as possible and the introduction of lime-flavored Jello in the early ’30s gave the congealed salad craze a huge boost.   

Industrial Foods, Cultural Expectations, and Gracious Living

After the war, corporations who had profited by feeding troops processed and instant foods, turned to the American public with campaigns that promised busy wives less time in the kitchen with easy ways to get dinner on the table. The cultural expectation of a woman to feed her families was still very prevalent and slap-dash preparations that instant and processed food provided would never do.

Popular magazines of the time touted the need for “Gracious Living”.  So women redefined instant and processed foods by adding ingredients or creating impressive presentations. Salads like Lime Jello Salad fell lockstep with the concept presented by the ads and magazine articles. They could be shaped with molds, placed on a bed of lettuce, and garnished with veggies curled into roses. An impressive presentation, indeed.

So, it is with grace and ingenuity that I present to you Lime Jello Salad.

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Lime Jello Salad on a cake stand with limes and lettuce as garnish

Lime Jello Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Christmas, Holidays, Salads, Summer, Winter
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Calories: 174kcal
This lime jello salad recipe, studded with pineapple and pecans, is a fabulous example of the gelatin salads so popular from the '30s to the '60.


  • 1 (3 ounce) package Lime Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • Place the Jell-O in a heat-proof mixing bowl. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let stand until cool but not set.
  • With a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese until creamy and whipped.
  • Add the cream and beat on low until smooth.
  • Add the cooled Jell-O, pineapple, nuts, and salt and stir until combined.
  • Pour into ring or mold and refrigeratory until ready to serve.
  • Un-mold onto serving platter and garnish with lettuce and lime slices.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.4g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 13.4g | Saturated Fat: 7.8g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 192mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 9.6g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @theheritagecookbookproject or tag #theheritagecookbookproject!

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