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  • Betty Girardeau


I haven't fixed or eaten Jello in years, but for some reason lately I have had a real hankering for some. I remember as a child loving it when my mother would make some for our dessert. Or she would add a can of fruit cocktail and serve it as a salad. My two favorites were orange and raspberry. When I did my grocery shopping last week I decided to get a box of raspberry and fix it for a dessert, which I did yesterday. The little cup that I used is one of two that I have that were my mother's and which I remember her using when she would make Jello for us. Jell-O has been around since 1874 when Pearle Bixby Wait and wife May trademarked the name for a product made from strawberry, raspberry, orange, or lemon flavoring added to sugar and granulated gelatin. It became especially popular during the 1950's and 60's during which time many new flavors and products were added to the line, including Jell-O 1-2-3, Jello-O Pudding Treats, and Jello-O Whip and Chill. It was during this period that I saved box tops so I could order a free Jell-O cook book, which I still have and have used so often that the cover is falling off. By 2016 there were more than 110 products associated with the brand name. Reading the list of names of current available flavors at times is much like reading the names of Jelly Belly jelly beans, for example, though I have not found these on my store shelves, there is Jolly Rancher Sour Green Apple, Mixchief Juice and Mixchief Soda Pop, as well as Strawberry Daiquiri, and Margarita. When we feel more comfortable traveling again, we might want to consider a trip to LeRoy, New York, the home of Jell-O and visit the museum, where, among other things, you can follow the Jell-O Brick Road made from stones with the names of former employees inscribed on them. I don't know why I suddenly had a craving for Jell-O after so many years. Maybe it is a by-product of this strange year of semi-isolation and the desire to remember better times and those things associated with them. Eating my dessert last night brought back happy memories of my family gathered around the dinner table and sharing stories of our day or memories of the early days of my marriage when I was cooking on a very limited budget. Regardless, it was like comfort food, and I am looking forward to another cup with my dinner tonight.

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