Radio stars of the 30s and 40s Jack Benny and Lucille Ball were sponsored by the beloved item, and its commercials dominated early television shows. Who did not love that colorful, jiggly, fun texture and flexibility. Little kids delighted in it, adults found it refreshing and light, and older folks enjoyed it as an easy and sweet conclusion to an otherwise bland meal in a nursing home. It was a predictable, familiar and welcome sight to millions. It soothed young kids at home with measles and graced the food trays of surgery patients as it eased them back into eating solid foods. It was also the basis for tomato aspics and molded salmon mousse. Though it had some limitations because of mobility and temperature, it still frequently took centre stage at picnics and backyard barbecues. Some view It like one of the family.
It was introduced in the late 1800s by an entrepreneur named Pearle Wait and his wife May, who experimented with grinding gelatin to a powder, which was a collagen originally extracted from the cells and hooves of barnyard animals, including flavorings and sugar that generated the first sweet version of gelatin. Inexpensive, easy to make and fun for children, it became a staple in the American home and continues to this day. It went on to be acquired by many large companies over the years and elegant and marketed as an inexpensive”salad” and dessert.
LeRoy, New York is known as its birthplace and has the only Jell-O Museum in the world, prominently situated on the main road through this small town. According to Kraft foods, the state of Utah eats twice as much lime jello as any other state (possibly those big Mormon families account for this ). The theory is that Mormons have quite a sweet tooth (they also have the most candy in the country) and if requested to bring a green salad to a dinner, they will appear with lime Jell-O (favorite add-ins include shredded carrots or canned pears).
A hugely popular concoction during the 1950s was a lime jello recipe that featured whipped topping, cottage cheese or cream cheese, crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows and walnuts. It often appeared at baby showers, luncheons, church potlucks, Raccoon Sounds and buffet dinners, usually formed by a big mold and trimmed with mayo. U.S. stats tell us 159.72 million Americans consumed flavored gelatin desserts in 2017, but this figure is projected to reduce to 154.07 million in 2020.
Though the younger generation is moving in a different direction and ingestion stats show a decrease in this once beloved staple of American cuisine, it still holds its own at any family gathering. And most of us agree, there is always room for Jell-O.