Four Jello Recipes I Double-Dog-Dare You to Make
My “2,000 Useful Facts About Food” pamphlet, published by the Culinary Arts Institute in 1951, defines gelatin as “a purified protein found in connective tissues and bones of animals.” For something so gross, Jello certainly holds a special place in all hearts that are not made of stone. While I haven’t eaten Jello (or any gelatin that could be avoided) since 2001, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good Jello recipe. I have combed through my growing vintage cookbook collection to bring you all the best in Jello-infused dishes. As an extra special treat, I have one of my grandmother’s recipes to share with you. It does provoke some pretty damn fond memories.
Warning: if you are not a fan of shit in your Jello, or of savory Jello treats, I do not advise you to make any of these recipes.
First, an easy one from The I Hate to Cook Book, recently republished. My edition is from 1967. This recipe is for “Orange-Carrot Salad,” and is pretty simple. A monkey could probably do it, provided that monkey had a shredding implement. The recipe is presented as part of a child’s birthday party menu.
If I had carrots in my Jello at one of my birthday parties I would have thrown a fit. Just because they’re both orange does not mean they go well together. However, if you feel differently, good for you! You’ll always get lots of beta carotene. **Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure orange Jello has no vitamins.
Next up is a Jello mold recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Bicentennial Cookbook, St. Louis County Association for Special Children, from, duh, 1976. This was one of those self-published benefit cookbooks that your grandmother owns twenty billion of. However, this one was published to benefit “special” kids in St. Louis. If you like your Jello dishes to have four or more fruit flavors plus margarine, then this one is for you.
*Side note: I have no idea what “sour wonder” is. I assume some sort of sour cream substitute, since this person seems to be all about the dairy substitutes. Google tells me it’s a strain of marijuana, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what Ms. Newman meant. However, feel free to improvise.
For everyone who has fond memories of mixing their Jello and vegetables at dinnertime, this next one’s for you. This is from the same great series of pamphlets published by the Culinary Arts Institute, which provided the delicious gelatin definition above. This pamphlet, published in 1951, is called “500 Delicious Salad Recipes,” and the appetizing recipe is called “Vegetable Salad Loaf.” It does not reference Jello by brand name, but instead asks for two packages of lemon gelatin. Based on the water in the recipe, I would use two 3 oz. packages of Jello.
The last recipe I have is a special treat from my grandmother’s kitchen. Her handwriting is usually like reading Cyrillic, but this one is relatively clear. I have no idea where this recipe came from or when she first started making it. Double bonus points and UTI prevention if you can find cranberry Jello instead.
I promise this one is actually good! And a great alternative to the normal Thanksgiving cranberry side dish.
Happy Jello making! Please do let us know the results of your Jello culinary adventures, be they magnificent or disastrous, hopefully, or both.
- Gretchen Neidhardt