I want to make something that looks pretty gross from 30 feet.
April 27, 2011 5:49 AM   Subscribe

I need food that looks unappetizing but that won't make someone gag. Oh, and I'm making it in a Jello mold.

So for prop food in a play, I'm making individual jello molds. It's set in the 60's, and it's supposed to look like food you would eat only if you were very hungry or very indiscriminate (read: human vacuum cleaner).

I've found RetroLife, but nothing there looks particularly like something I can get away with trying to feed an actor. I also found this one but it's not quite as obviously gross looking as I'd like.

There are no food allergies involved. It has to be made in an individual mold so that the prop looks good each night. I can add whipped cream or whatever beforehand right before it goes on stage. Anyone have anything awesome?
posted by Medieval Maven to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would it work to simply change the coloring of one of the Jello salad-type recipes you already have? It should be easy to achieve a nice, muddy brown. Possibly with large marshmallows added for visual texture and to slow down the actor's eating of it?
posted by jon1270 at 5:55 AM on April 27, 2011

Make it gray. (Maybe use black food coloring and dairy/coconut cream.) Fill it with chunks of neutral/monochrome colored stuff (chicken, white corn, cauliflower?), but keep it gray, ugly, and chunky. The jello mold (and gray gelatin sticking it all together) should make it sludgy, shiny, and gross.
posted by rikschell at 5:58 AM on April 27, 2011

my mum serves something we know as 'tater hash. It involves browning an onion and some mince in a large pan then adding diced potato and just enough water to cover then boil, stirring frequently for about an hour - basically until all the potato has broken down and is a grey/brown mush - season with salt and pepper and its really quite nice, especially with a dollop of ketchup.... but does not look appealing at all. If you make it thick enough it should set fine in a mould and is perfectly edible cold.
posted by missmagenta at 6:01 AM on April 27, 2011

sorry, mince = ground beef
posted by missmagenta at 6:04 AM on April 27, 2011

Do you want an actual Jello Salad?

Here in the land of crazy Jello monstrosities (Utah) there are some quite.... creative concoctions. I have actually been served Jello with carrot chunks and hot dog slices floating inside. I don't remember what color/flavor the Jello was, I just remember staring in horror at the dish in front of me. I was not daring enough to try it.

If you just need something gross looking but still tasty you could easily color some mashed potatoes or Jello and serve that.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:07 AM on April 27, 2011

Make the Jello out of unflavored gelatin instead of dayglo Jello colors. Turning it grayish or mud brown can be easily achieved with using bouillon broth or dark food coloring instead of water.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:09 AM on April 27, 2011

Mashed bananas and raisins are pretty nasty looking too, with the bonus that the bananas will turn brown pretty darn quickly. Doesn't taste too bad though.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:10 AM on April 27, 2011

Oh: cottage cheese. Stir some raisins into it, let it sit overnight and the raisins stain the cottage cheese. Mash a smashed up brown banana into it, or some overripe avocado.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:12 AM on April 27, 2011

I had a stir-fry-y-kind of thing recently which involved chunks of duck and a bunch of veggies, fermented soy beans and extra soy sauce. It looked like hell but was quite tasty.
I am absolutely sure that with a little fiddling in the sweet-sour department, and the addition of gelatin or something, a gray-brown-opaque stirfry-con-sauce like this one can be turned into a delicious aspic of sorts, perfect for your jello mold.
Imagine using sliced green an red peppers and soybean sprouts, and a good mix of the fermented soybean products: it's gonna look like roadside lunchbox leftovers doused in motor oil.

(of course, I also found this)
posted by Namlit at 6:13 AM on April 27, 2011

Use orange jell-o, add a little milk and _blueberries_ with juice. The blue and orange will combine to make an...interesting...color, and the milk will just make it milkier.

Blackberries are another option.
posted by amtho at 6:20 AM on April 27, 2011

Response by poster: Ha! Okay, so I want it to look like food, but weird food, well intentioned food that is unappetizing. Probably some Utah concoction would be most likely to fit the bill -- I'd forgotten about the Land of Jello Salads. Fruit is okay. There are no food allergies in the mix.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:24 AM on April 27, 2011

Overboil some eggs so the yolks turn gray-green and then make egg salad with them. Add a little bit of soy sauce to get that healthy brown glow.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:37 AM on April 27, 2011

posted by gjc at 6:39 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can recreate some of the nastier jello salads using a layer of whipped jello (pretending to be something like, oh, tuna) and a layer of normal jello, plus colored marshmallows (make your own for really brilliant colors) and some inoffensive fruit representing whatever, uh, stuff is in the jello. And whipped cream on top.
posted by anaelith at 6:43 AM on April 27, 2011

This is probably categorized as too gross, but...

When I was a little kid, I remember my dad once made some Jello out of a brain mold for Halloween.
He used watermelon Jello so it was pink, and used milk instead of water to make the Jello opaque. He then covered it in red corn syrup to make the who thing look bloody.

It looked so real, but tasted like normal jello. When you're a kid, you jump at the chance to eat anything sweet, but I was so grossed out by the sight that I couldn't eat more than a spoonful.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:50 AM on April 27, 2011

Use lemon jello. Everything looks revolting when covered in pale yellow.
posted by Kololo at 6:58 AM on April 27, 2011

Well intentioned but unappetizing? I'd go with overcooked meatloaf. 60s vibe, and very believable -- I have friends that, unfortunately, won't eat meat unless it's cooked to shoe leather.
posted by bfranklin at 7:01 AM on April 27, 2011

Best answer: Considering it needs to look gross, and not necessarily be gross, i'd say that this is pretty much the grossesst looking jello mold i've seen.
posted by Kololo at 7:02 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some of the food from the 50s Housewife Experiment here might fit the bill.
posted by psychostorm at 7:05 AM on April 27, 2011

Best answer: Check out the Gallery of Regrettable Food.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:12 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I once dyed mashed potatoes bright blue with food colouring. It didn't bother me, probably because I had done it, but it grossed out my friends to watch me eat blue food.
posted by jb at 7:35 AM on April 27, 2011

If you do the mashed potato, you could use an ice cream scoop to make consistent scoops of it rather than a mold.
posted by cabingirl at 8:06 AM on April 27, 2011

You need a brain jello mold.
posted by sninctown at 8:11 AM on April 27, 2011

Best answer: If you've never looked at Weight Watchers cards from the 70s, here's your chance. You want grey or chunky gelatin? Or a mousse? I don't think the recipes are included, but I'm pretty sure the recipe doesn't matter at this point.
posted by ilona at 9:00 AM on April 27, 2011

Are you making it every night? And it has to sit on stage under lights, but people still need to eat it? Why not embed plastic fruit in real jello? The actors can eat the jello, which isn't too hard for stage eating, and you get the lurid colors of the plastic fruit. If you double the amount of gelatin, the mold will hold up better, too.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:59 AM on April 27, 2011

Best answer: You can make a pretty unappealing green jello salad by mixing lime jello and any white jello pudding (I like cheesecake flavor myself). It turns that 70's pale green solid jiggly shiny...bleh. Tastes like lime cheesecake, though. (However, you might do a tech run to make sure that it won't slump and fall apart under hot lights. You may need to cut some of the liquid - look for recipes for the Jell-O eggs, those are very firm.)

I also thoroughly enjoy lime jello made with cottage cheese in it (use about half the water, let it start to set, stir in cottage cheese, let re-set in fridge for a good long while). I enjoy watching people cringe as I eat it. It's very tasty, it just looks like a biohazard.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:00 AM on April 27, 2011

Response by poster: You guys are a font of encouragement. :) It does have to be edible. I will make the requisite number of molds for each weekend and they'll live safe and sound in the theater fridge.

I might be giving my actor a choice - lime jello & cottage cheese versus gelled gazpacho (which a compatriot sent me and which looks like it should be visually repellent).

Still want to have more options! You guys are awesome.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:12 AM on April 27, 2011

There are some aspic-like French preparations made from tripe and lard. this site has some examples (at the bottom of the page). They also carry pork nose aspic and head cheese. This is another version.

French cooking has a lot of caché. I can see somebody in the 60's making tripes à la méridionale or something similar and adapting it to a jello mold. You could probably make an aspic with any whitish or greyish ingrdients, and it would look similar and kind of gross.

(The actual recipes seem to call for tripe and lard, with onions, carrots, wine or cognac, and seasoning.)

Pork jelly would also work.
posted by nangar at 10:32 AM on April 27, 2011

you can congeal just about any soup with plain/flavorless gelatine powder.
posted by Neekee at 11:18 AM on April 27, 2011

Just an image search using "in aspic" leads to many erm...delightful...visions. There's a recipe here for a ham and vegetable salad in aspic that's rather picturesque, and not entirely inedible, though very vintage-looking. It's gotta be canned peas and spam though, just for the optics.
posted by peagood at 7:29 AM on April 28, 2011

Oh, this...this is just so wrong.
posted by Xoebe at 8:20 PM on April 30, 2011

« Older Computer Stuff, no gimmiks   |   I need suggestions for a ticket system for my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.