May 7th, 2008

The many dimensions of Jello

….including the Fifth:

Jello has long been a highly advertised food, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because it has no intrinsic food value whatsoever.

One possibility is that whatever is lacks in nutrition it makes up for in “beauty and sculptural variety.” And early on it gained symbolic significance in our national life:

Immigrants at Ellis Island were ritually served bowls of Jell-O under signs that read “Welcome To America.”

10 Responses to “The many dimensions of Jello”

  1. Vanderleun Says:

    Ah, now you’re back on track.

  2. Grimmy Says:

    The popularity of jello, and it’s significance in being served to new immigrants while in Ellis Island, comes from previous gelatin dishes being a result of conspicuous consumption.

    Gelatin dishes were only available to families that had access to consistent quantities of meat for their meals. That was not the usual case for most families when jello first came out on the market.

    Gelatin is made from collagen which is a byproduct of cooking meats and stewing bones for soup stocks and sauce base.

    Prior to jello, gelatin dishes were something only available to the “upper crust”.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Grimmy: the current crop of jello posts started when Obama tried to establish his non-elitist creds by saying his grandparents served him jello molds. I have a serious post coming one of these days about how jello was originally meant to be a food that was a sign of refinement.

  4. Charles Rubin Says:

    Does anyone else remember the “Chinese Baby” Jell-o commercials–of the early 60s, I should think. Cute baby in a highchair, giggling over the quivering jell-o in front of him/her. Don’t know why there was the China connection, if I’m not confabulating memories.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Charles Rubin: Here you are.

  6. benning Says:

    Not a favorite, but I do enjoy Jello from time to time. For awhile they made a nice Watermelon flavored Jello. Cranberry Jello was nearly flavorlless. And let’s face it, Jello is a perfect vehicle to carry Whipped Cream!

    One very bad use of Jello is to sprinkle a package in a container of Sour Cream, mix well, and refrigerate. Way too fattening. One should never try this.


  7. Charles Rubin Says:

    Dear Neo-neocon:

    How kind of you! It is yet more charming than I remembered it, because my memory of it is so plainly unreliable. I wonder how old I was at the time; perhaps I missed the point back then and hence could not lay down a reliable memory? I know it is not current memory loss because about three decades ago I wrote the company to ask about the commercial, and got the description wrong then as well. BTW, unlike you, they were of no help. Thanks again!

  8. Tatyana Says:

    You will be happy to learn that in CT they still regard jello as perfect spa dessert.


    So happy to be back, including back to 80% chocolate!

  9. Instinct Says:

    wow, I must have missed that commercial the first time around but now I have been scarred by it so the world is back in balance again. 🙂

  10. Hyuuga Neji Says:

    I remember the chinese baby ad and found it a little bit racist. lucky the ad was in 60s 🙂

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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