Christmas Jell-O

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

IT JUST WOULDN’T be Christmas without Jell-O. Holiday traditions are built around this concoction of sweeteners, dyes, and stuff that hardens like amber to preserve the items that are lovingly placed in it. The lunch ladies at St. Raphael’s Elementary School were masters of suspending the four food groups in Jell-O. Carrots were an odd and particular favorite—not traditionally sliced, but shredded in a frenzy. Flurries of carrot peelings, snowing in Jell-O. Now that I am an adult and have struggled myself with kitchen mysteries, I wonder how they managed to get those carrot peelings to stand on end as the Jell-O hardened, forever ethereal in a vertical dance of keratin. My pitiful attempts only result in a clotted mass of … Read More

Thanksgiving Jell-O

Pamela Hill NettletonEssaysLeave a Comment

Past Thanksgiving Jell-O contest contenders: Diet Cherry Coke Jell-O; the Jell-O Cello; the Parting of the Red Sea in Jell-O.   SOME HOLIDAY TRADITIONS have noble roots, emerging from long-held cultural values or evolving out of time-honored family rituals. But now and then, a goofy tradition springs into being accidentally, a half-baked little casserole that ought to have been tossed out with last year’s fruitcake. Just such a step-brainchild was my nutty idea to launch a Thanksgiving Jell-O competition. I was standing in the kitchen the night before our holiday meal, whipping up the obligatory lime Jell-O with the obligatory canned pears, when I suddenly thought, “If the Egyptians had Jell-O, they might have built the pyramids out of this stuff.” … Read More