Giggles over Wiggling, Jiggling Jell-O


"The Joys of Jell-O Gelatin are never ending."

That's what a thrifted recipe book-- " The New Joys of Jell-O" assures us. And certainly when you can make anything with it-- from the tantalizing jellied prune whip, to an antipasto salad that uses vinegar, salami and lemon gelatin-- well, you've pretty much got variety up the wazoo.


But the recipes weren't the actual reason I bought this book. I mean, sure, I could pluck the very most molded and gooey creations and scare everybody here silly with them, including myself. But it's time I grow up and demonstrate that I'm more mature than that...

So I'm going to make fun of the book's lifestyle shots.

"The New Joys of Jell-O" was set in the early 70s. A time where women were just beginning to re-enter the workforce. Where people of color were being featured more regularly on TV and in film. And where every housewife knew that when bringing a dessert, it was absolutely critical to match that dessert to one's outfit...

Like our neighbors here...


Nancy Neighbor is always showing off. Every get-together, it's all fancy Jell-O dessert and color-coordinated kaftan. She doesn't even really want to be here. Look at that forced smile. Notice how she won't quite look us in the eye?


She was fighting with her husband, Norris Neighbor, all the way over here. She feels we aren't refined enough to truly appreciate her Jell-O creations. Norris, by the way, is a detective in Barney Miller's precinct. And he knows Nancy's been cheating on him-- cheating with the guy who stocks the Jell-O down at the supermarket. They'll announce their divorce next week.

And it looks like Norris already has his eye on you.


Speaking of outfit-to-Jell-O coordination...


When serving Jell-O parfaits, it's absolutely critical to dress like one. It sets the tone, the atmosphere. Given the time period, having a party where people of different races intermingle was rather daring and forward-thinking of Jell-O. It tells us that whether you're black, white, purple or green, Jell-O is happiness and racial harmony... It brings us all together! And just to further emphasize the happy relations of people of all colors and creeds, the parfaits that match the hostess' dress are, yes, black and white. Subtle, eh?

The man pictured on the right doesn't look too happy, though, does he?

I think he's listened to laughing boy's jokes on the left just a few too many times and is trying to tune out.
"Please, let this party end soon... Please let this party end soon... So help me, I hate this guy."

Here, the Brady Bunch kids make Jell-O to sell and raise money for their parents' anniversary present...


But because Marcia and Bobby ate everything they made, the young Bradys ended up having to go on a variety show and sing instead. This is one of the outtakes.

Moving on-- Ahhh, nothing like Jell-O logs melting before an open fire!...

But what's happening here?...

As Sue and Steve flirt in their matching turtleneck sweaters, Kim is comforted only by the warmth of her sheepdog skin vest and yet another glass of Chianti.

Hey, Kim, it looks like you spilled some on the rug! Oh, no-- nevermind. That's just the pattern.


Ah, the wedding day! Doesn't the bride look beautiful? And what better to complement a happy occasion than a Nerf football readily handy on the buffet table, offering easy access for a post-ceremony pick-up game?

Wait-- my mistake-- that's actually Creamy Bleu Cheese Salad which uses Dream Whip Whipped Topping, Bleu Cheese, Cream Cheese and, of course, Lemon Jell-O. Mmm-mmm. This will be a feast that couple is destined never to forget!

Well, okay, I know SAID I wasn't going to share any recipes with you today, but I thought I might include just two...

Mrs. Lovett was very economical. What she didn't use in her meat pies went into her desserts. Black cherry Jell-O? Maybe... maybe not. Only she and Sweeney Todd know for sure.

And in the "Things You Never Thought Of" chapter, I must say, I have to agree with the Jell-O people...


I never would have thought of glazed hors d'oeuvres using dill, vinegar, cayenne, bayleaf and Lemon Jell-O over finger sandwiches...

And I hope to never think of it again, too.

Jell-O is groovy!

And so are you, for stopping by today!


Hope you're having a terrific summer!

26 comments:

Linda B said...

Well, it's clear! Apparently no one in this book has had quite their share of Jellied Prune Whip! No wonder everyone is a little ridid and tense! My goodness, I just have to have that recipe for the black cherry/people organ gelled salad! (we watched Soylent Green last night; yum, yum, hack, hack!??!!)

Too funny. Thank you. I love these old recipes, photos, stories.....

Linda B.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Linda- I think you may very well be right. It would explain a lot about why these supposedly successful parties look so grim and uncomfortable.

Or maybe it's the organs in aspic that turned them off. :)

Thanks for your visit!

Rosemary said...

Hilarious!!!
You crack me up Jenn!!
Remember, there's always room for jello!!
Have a great week!!
PS, So glad those dresses went out of style!!!

Wendy said...

Too funny!!

Da Old Man said...

MMMMM, salami in jell-o.
It's nearly a complete meal. Plop on a dollop of Dream Whip, and serve with 7 Ritz crackers, and it's a banquet.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Rosemary- In some cases, it might be best if there were a little LESS room for Jell-O! :) I'd be happy to forgo a few of these treats, in fact. :) You have a great week, too!

Wendy- Hey, thanks for stopping!

DaOldMan- It truly is a smorgasbord isn't it? :) Scrummy! (Gag, choke...)

Vonlipi said...

You made me laugh soooo hard! It sure did bring back loads of memories from my mother's side. Green bell pepper 'stuffed' with lemon and tomato jell-o with a mayonnaise sauce....Celery, avocado in a salad mold with lemon jell-o and countless delicacies. The only one I could keep down was an orange and cranberry mold!

rethoryke said...

The edition of Joys of Jello that we had didn't feature many photographs [or perhaps I blotted them out of my mind], but I _do_ remember there being a recipe for marzipan, which at the time was one of my very favorite food items. That's what the miniature fruit collection is above the frightening glazed hors d'oeuvres...

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Vonlipi- Might I extend to you my deepest sympathies for being faced with those stuffed green peppers. The use of lemon Jell-O in that situation is, well, more than I really wish to imagine. You must be truly a survivor, is all I can say.

Rhet- Indeed the marzipan, and even the candied rinds (pictured next to it) seemed like a more logical idea. Those glazed hors d'oeuvres, though... Oh my.

Lidian said...

Oh, I love a good Jell-O post! And this one is excellent! What a groovy book that is...I actually do remember people looking a bit like this. Only not quite so bizarre. And minus the Jell-O molds (mostly).

Jenn Thorson said...

Ah, Lidian my friend- I absolutely thought of you and your own amusing vintage recipes when I posted this! Yikes, the scary things that happen when gelatin is involved.

Robin (Calais) said...

Hilarious. I love old cookbooks and I have a couple Jello books at home. I find them so interesting because the terms they used back then make the directions almost incomprehisible (to me anyway). That vinegar, salami, and jello number would be great to take to a dinner at an in-laws house!

Jenn Thorson said...

Robin- No, you're right-- considering it's supposed to be simple Jell-O, it all ends up being pretty elaborate. Vinegar, salami and Jell-O (I think there might have been cubed cheese in there, too). It's just not right. :) Thanks for stopping by!!

Barry said...

The pictures are better than the recipes ! It is always a joy to stop by

:p

Jenn Thorson said...

Barry- Heh, it's amazing what lurks within a vintage cookbook. Thanks for visiting!

chyna said...

My mom still makes that cranberry/orange jello salad. Her and my brother adore it, I detest the taste of orange rinds.

Anybody else here have a mom who would make a jello (yummy!!!) and then put in bananas? Would ruin it each and every time! And she wasn't very clever about it because we'd all know that the bananas were starting to get overripe so out would come the jello. My worst run in with things that don't below in your strawberry Jell-O would be applesauce. Kid you not, the college I was attending had some demented food prepare people. All I can say is bless the guy who thought up Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks. ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- I know you are anti-banana, so I can see where the bananas-in-Jell-O would be a nightmare of epic proportions for you. I actually used to like it when Mom would do that-- only she used fresh bananas. I also used to really enjoy her banana pudding.

I've never heard of applesauce in Jell-O, but color me not surprised that people tried it.

chyna said...

bananas in the pudding I can handle but in the jell-o it is like slimy little disks. I can handle any kind of fruit in my gelatin but bananas. No.

I did try that applesauce stuff, the texture was ummmmm.... interesting. And effectively ended that freaky college diet.

Amy said...

LOL this is hilarious! I remember my parents dressing like the people in your pictures!

Melanie said...

Oh, the memories vintage cookbooks bring back! I remember mom lacing jello with fruit cocktail and trying to force me to eat it. She might as well have laced it with arsenic as far as I was concerned.

I had a cooking job at a small boarding home for the elderly a couple years ago. The boss actually MADE me feed the residents recipes out of a jello cookbook very similar to this one!!!!!!

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Chyna- Ah, it's a texture issue... makes sense. I think a lot of the things made with Jell-O would be... interesting... that way. Slidey food has never been my thing either.

Amy- Mine too, to some extent. I know Mom probably would have worn that red outfit in the first photos. Hopefully she would have forgone the parfait dress though.

Melanie- We had the fruit cocktail Jell-O too. I was okay with it if it were clear Jell-O, but when it was opaque I KNEW there was something in it that shouldn't be. Like sour cream, mayo or cream cheese. Scared the bejeebers out of me.

Your elderly folks, having grown up on this stuff, might not have seen anything wrong with it!

ankur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Debbie said...

Oh Jenn, this is just hysterically funny....I lived through the 70s and we thought we were soooo cool then.....

xo,
Debbie

tawn said...

I know I am way late, but I just found your blog and was reading old posts when I spotted this cookbook. I have this cookbook and yes, I got it when it was new in the 1970's. I got married in 1974, so this was a "must have" book. I can remember looking through it for something to make for special occasions. I am dating myself, aren't I?

Head Bitch in Charge said...

I love this book for exactly the same reasons! THe social shots are hilarious. I've been cooking and blogging my way through the original Joys of Jello and can't wait to get to this one so I can recreate the settings!

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

Debbie- It's so true. As a kid in the 70s, I was so very proud of my coulottes. :)

Tawn- But the question is-- did you coordinate your clothes to your Jello? :)

Head Bitch in Charge- It was absolutely the reason I had to have it. I wonder if more recent Joys of Jell-O still have lifestyle shots in them?... Hm. Must do some recon.