Monday, February 8, 2010

Coffee Table Book Party: "Joys of Jello"


Joys of Jello, 3rd Edition


Many of you will have seen copies of this little cookbook floating around the bookshelves of your older relatives. I inherited my copy from the kitchen of my late grandmother.


It is important to understand that, well into living memory, such dishes as "Molded Chef's Salad" were made and served with no sense of irony whatsoever -- even outside of the MidWest.


I challenge you, L&TM5K reader, to make Ring-Around-the-Tuna, serve it without warning to your family or guests, and report back.


Jell-O Gelatin, the introduction begins, first grandly shimmered its way into American dining rooms in 1897. Just how many brands in your kitchen go back 65 years?


Jell-O Gelatin's long-time popularity comes from many good things. Its lightness is one -- a big one. Jell-O Gelatin is so light it seems to make any meal sit a little lighter. Its fresh fruit taste, so much like the fruit that inspired it, is utterly satisfying. And it's easy to fix in all kinds of ways -- some we'll wager that have never entered your mind.


Specific recipes available on request.

24 comments:

Yankee in England said...

I was raised LDS or Mormon. It was culturaly normal to put very interesting things in Jello Molds for pot lucks. Carrots, cottage cheese, and the one that always bothered me was the green marachino(sp?) cherries. Dayglo green cherries are evil.

Tom McGuffey said...

This was quite a painful post to scan. Please don't do this again.

Yet - a personal cooking challenge is something I can hardly pass up.....but in this case I will.

I think I'm gonna hurl.

Lisa W. said...

My mom is a jello salad believer. She has few celebration meals without a "congealed salad". The red white and green layered salad in the last photo of your post is on the Christmas menu most years. Mom calls it ribbon salad. For years, it was part of the annual tradition that we overflowed a pyrex dish while constructing it. After Christmas 2009, we purchased a larger pyrex dish so that we could construct this recipe without the usual overflow incident. I would love to have the original recipe. The version my mom has recorded is quite unclear about the construction of the middle layer. Bring on some clarity!

Elizabeth said...

I was hoping that you actually had a book of Jell-o recipes that was the size of a standard coffee table book, so that you could truly appreciate the shimmering, pimento-stuffed-olive-and-tuna-in-lime-green wonder of it all.

Nichim said...

Do they mention the part about it being made of BOILED HOOVES?

DrSchnell said...

I think I remember you showing this to me back in our Kansas days. And it still makes me go - wow! And I'm of solid midwestern stock where jello is generally considered one of the major food groups.

mrs.5000 said...

It was pretty early on in our courtship when M5K fished this book out of his arsenal to wow me with its absurdity. I was pretty impressed to find a guy with a copy of my mom's Jello cookbook, and proceeded to point out the recipes I'd been eating for years (all safely in the fruit genre, of course). We do the Christmas jello salad, too, Lisa! It is perhaps the best of the lot, due to its flag-of-Christmas graphic quality and thoroughly edible pineapple cream cheesy middle. I think my mom may make a small extra panful to avoid overflow. (Loud calls for RECIPE! RECIPE!) There is also an "icebox salad" I confess I like with walnuts, mandarin oranges, and yes, a frozen matrix implicating both jello and mayonnaise.

Aviatrix said...

I was visiting Salt Lake City, and as is my custom asked if there was any local cuisine I should try. I've eaten BBQ in Texas, crayfish in New Orleans, smoked meat in Montréal, and presumed that there might be such a specialty in SLC. The first person I asked blurted "green Jell-O" then said he was just kidding, so later I asked someone else, who had exactly the same answer. I'm grateful for the elucidation provided by this post.

Also, there was a shiny, fish-shaped Jello-O mould on the wall of the kitchen in the house where I grew up, but it was never used to make Jell-O salads. When I got old enough to be trusted with boiling water, I made fish-shaped Jell-O from time to time. And damnit, now I have to go and find a metal, fish-shaped Jell-O mould on eBay.

IamSusie said...

We are a Christmas Jello Salad family too! One year we forgot to make it and vowed never to forget again.

Elaine said...

I actually owned a copy of this book--though the cover might have been updated-- with these exact photos and recipes. I only regret I no longer have it, or I would send it to you! you know, as a token of esteem.

My sister still makes a cranberry salad with black raspberry Jell-O and walnuts-- it does not seem to have made it into MY traditional holiday recipe line-up.

I guess I last made Jell-O in 1987 when one of the kids was ill.... doctors used to recommend it for reasons that now pass understanding. GatorAde or Pedialyte is now the ticket...but I digress.

Olive and jell-O....just WRONG.

UnwiseOwl said...

I will take this challenge.
I have a group of friends that utterly deserve having this done to them. The question is whether or not to do a double recipe.
The other question is "What the hell is pimiento?"

Elaine said...

@Unwise Owl
Pimento (or pimiento) is a red pepper of a certain variety (somewhere between a bell and a hot pepper) that has been skinned and canned (which can be done with a jar, just so you know)....and it's usually sliced or chopped and included in recipes. Specifically, you have seen a strip of pimento in your green olive....sticking out its tongue at your.....

Unwise.... how true that is. Ask not for whom the pimento tolls; it tolls for thee.

Elaine said...

I forgot to say: Jell-O is a substitute for ASPIC!

Jenners said...

Oh My God ... this is both horrifying and amazing! Did you say TUNA .... in JELLO?????

Libby said...

The fact that I have never had savory jell-o is one of the great sadnesses of my life :(

Libby said...

I actually hate the texture of jell-o, but avocado strawberry ring sounds quite fascinating. Just looked up the recipe...bizarre.

UnwiseOwl said...

Hrmm...I could probably track some down, but I don't think it's a particularly common thing here in Oz. I might just use a capsicum instead.

No vegetable is an island, after all.

Yankee in England said...

@ Elaine I was thinking that many of the Jello Salads looked similar to what you would see if you looked up Aspic in Larrouse Gastronomique. Though most of the recipes they have with aspic have a meat theme. Living in England where the use of aspic is still some what okay I have to say a pork pie would not be the same with out the aspic.

Elaine said...

@Yankee
ASPIC made an appearance on the NYT crossword puzzle. Some of us objected to the cluing (may have been "meat juice")... At the time, I mentioned finding a letter, written by my sister, carefully preserved among our grandparents' mementos: "Mother made tomato ass-pick, but none of us liked it." And then, over the following couple of weeks, ASPIC kept showing up again and again!!!
Exit, pursued by a Jell-O mold....

mrs.5000 said...

last night I had a dream about a gourmet jello shop...

Jessica said...

What an amazing table!! Check out this one too for Coffee Tables.

UnwiseOwl said...

Why is that person trying to sell me coffee tables?

Michael5000 said...

I guess she's just really into coffee tables.

The Calico Cat said...

I use that fish mold to make tuna pate'.

(cream cheese, finely diced onion & chili sauce - all to taste with the cheap variety of tuna.)

I have only had Hain SuperFruits Dessert Mix infrequently. (Vegeterian & Kosher version of Jello. None of the electric colors.)

(& Jello is officially made from animal hides, not hooves & horns.)

Does you book have a recipe/method for making the kind of gelatin treats that you can hold with your hand. (I think you use 2 boxes of powder, but only 1 box worth of water....)