Friday, May 25, 2012

Tour de Jello

In my recent post about one of the worst cookbooks I own,  I posted a recipe for "Zingy Tomato Salad" which involved, among other things cherry jello and tomatoes. This prompted a somewhat lengthy discussion on Facebook about odd jello recipes, and the advisability (or not) of putting vegetables in jello. Tonight, for the heck of it, I cruised through a bunch of vintage food ads at Vintage Ad Browser. I can find jello ads all the way back the early 1900s. Most of the ones I saw up until the 1940s or so were plain flavored gelatin, sometimes with a dollop of mayonnaise or fruit *on* the jello. A lot like this...
Although I know from reading culinary history books, in this case especially Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads by Sylvia Lovegren (2005, University of Chicago Press), that jello with stuff in it existed before the 1940s, the ads with complex jello recipes begin appearing in earnest in the 1940s.

We've got both vegetable and fruit jello salads in that one.
Long about the 1950s, the jello ads, or more properly Jell-O ads are everywhere. Here's a lovely fruit version:
And how about some vegetables?
Maybe some nuts?

In order to avoid getting bored with throwing chopped stuff into the jello salads, how about using jello with ice cream?

Bet you didn't know there was a national "You-Can-Do-The-Jolliest-Things-with-Jell-O-And-Ice-Cream week! Hey, when is that coming around this year anyway?
By the time I got to the 1960s, the jello recipes had slowed down quite a bit. Miracle Whip salad dressing was now *in* the gelatin, rather than on top of the gelatin.

But I think I put together this whole tour de jello just to show you this last ad. 1960s. Convenience foods. Beginning of women's lib. Who has time to put together some fancy jello salad anymore? Here's the ultimate in Jell-O with fruit in it for the on-the-go cook:
Just dump out the pineapple juice, dump in the lime gelatin, and voilà--pineapple lime jello salad!

I thought this was the ultimate in lazy jello salads, but I just recalled that pre-made jello singles, some with fruit in them, are now available in stores. No boiling of water required. It's all downhill from here.

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