Thursday, November 20, 2008

Follow The Jell-O Brick Road

Jell-O = gelatin. Basically, it's a glutinous material made from boiling animal bones, not suited for the vegetarian diet. That really bums me out because my mother never told me that. I loved the stuff. It was pretty, wiggly, fancy, and fun. My grandmother always had it in her fridge in little glasses with fruit, mainly bananas in it. My mom made a very cool green salad with apples and nuts inside. Then she put a dollop of Miracle whip on top and that was fancy. I loved Jell-O when the top got hard and rubbery. You could just peel it off and chew it. Wow, was that's livin!
In 1845, an industrialist, Peter Cooper obtained a patent for powered gelatin. Forty years later the patent was sold to a cough syrup manufacturer who added fruit flavors to the powder. Since the company was unable to succeed, Francis Wood, who owned a food company, bought the business for $450.00. He placed ads in "Ladies Home Journal" proclaiming Jell-O to be Americas most famous dessert. In the 1930's congealed salads (aspics) were the rage. So, Jell-O came out with vegetable flavors like celery, Italian and tomato. These flavors were short lived.
In the 50's and 60's new flavors evolved like apple, grape, black cherry, black raspberry, and lemon lime. In 1966, the Jell-O no bake desert was launched and a cheesecake could be made in 15 minutes. The perfect companion to a TV dinner.
Over the years, popular desserts came about and celebrities promoted them. Jell-O, there's always room for more! As of 2008, there are more than 150 Jell-O brand products and over 300 million boxes of Jell-O sold in the United States alone. Wow, that's alot of animal bones and not bad for a $450.00 investment!
So, the next time you are in Leroy. New York, stop by the Jell-O museum. It's the only one in the world.

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