Monday, August 17, 2009

The Magical Wiggliness of it all

Who really likes Jello? I mean, really enjoys eating it? Why? Is it the violent hue, the intensely artificial flavor, or is just the magical wiggliness of it all?

We ate a fair amount of Jello growing up. It contained gelatin, which was deemed to be good for you in some vague way. Good for your fingernails. Fingernails were sort of like hard skin. So maybe Jello was good for your skin. Or something. Usually we dumped canned fruit into it. Back then, canned fruit was always in thick syrup. We used the "juice" (see previous reference to syrup) for part of the cold water to make the Jello, adding an extra shot of sucrose. (At least that was before high fructose corn syrup) We could never manage to follow directions to let it set part way, stir in the chilled fruit, then let it finish setting so that the fruit was mixed in. Our fruit always floated, to make a crusty fruit topping on the red wiggliness.

Ok, so it was sort of fun. Cut out a blob, tap it with your spoon and watch it wiggle. Spoon up a bite. Sort of like eating punch. The funnest time I ever had with Jello was when they came out with "Jello 1-2-3." You made it up and then beat the heck out of it with a mixer, poured it into parfait glasses and stuck it in the fridge. It magically separated into three layers, a foamy white one on top, a creamy pink one in the middle, and a plain red wiggly one on the bottom.

Perhaps one thing that has put me off Jello is a lovely surprise I got when I returned to our home after my honeymoon. My friends and relatives had trashed - whoops - "decorated" the house to welcome us. The "fun" mostly consisted of rice all over the floor, some of the furniture dismantled, toilet paper, talcum powder... ad nauseum... But the worst of all was the institutional size Jello - serves 500 - that had been dumped in the bathtub full of water. Jello doesn't do all that well not refrigerated. For a week. It WAS red...

What brought Jello to my mind again lately was the BBC miniseries of Gormenghast. At the Brunch that the King calls for to celebrate the birth of his son, a magnificent green Jello pyramid was served. It was huge, and a very deep and brilliant green. On the top was an apricot-sized dark red orb. Unfortunately, things deteriorated at the Brunch and it was never served. But it was so remarkable, that I have been thinking on what might be a worthy, wiggly thing to do with Jello.

So what about it? What could I create that would be more exciting that just the wiggliness? Should I eat my Frappacino? Has anyone made Green Tea Jello? I've heard about trapping liquor shots in gelatin. Is it funner to eat your likker than to drink it? Stay tuned...


  1. I'm just not a fan of jello. Sorry - but I'm not. Now pudding (only a kissing-cousin to jello by virture of being in the same grocery store isle and in near-identical boxes) is something I can get behind! I say drop the vibrantly colored jiggly stuff and bring on the pudding!

  2. Did I tell you that Bethany and I made banana pudding desserts with the Tevis puddings? We layered Famous Amos Choc Chip Cookies with cut-up bananas and the 2 layer single serve banana puddings. Mmmm!

  3. I bought a box of jello a while back because I couldn't remember if i liked it or not. It's just not that interesting.
    I never knew you got a bathtub full of jello as a wedding "present" lol. How cool is that??!!
    When the earl gets up and starts hooting on the table, the jello pyramid looks like its begging to be stepped on...I always wondered why he only stepped on the funky shell thing thing and not the pyramid too... :(