Vintage Jello

May 31, 2016


It’s impossible to look through this 1977 Jello cookbook (from the General Mills folks), and not feel transported to a different time. A time when someone might spell your name in frosted alphabet cereal letters….IMG_5550

A time when fruits often hung suspended in sparkling red gelée…


A time when someone thought encasing a banana in jello and putting it on a stick was a really nifty trick.IMG_5549

This book reminded me of Pat Oleszko’s contribution to an even earlier cookbook, my own Mmmmm (published in 1972). With the aim of serving her hospital-bound dad something completely without texture, we made several different kinds of jello, cut them into little 2-inch squares, and piled them into a wobbly haystack. This was followed by… really?… shredded wheat jello. IMG_5671

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  • Renae says:

    I remember that GM book as a child. I was fascinated by the corners of the book, which were a flip book (one of a rabbit going in and out of a hat and the other was a child eating dessert).

  • Patti Lynch says:

    Wow, looking at all of these desserts really takes me back! I was a kid in the 70s, and we had lots of jello. My favorite was always the strawberry – with or without fruit. We had an above-ground pool in the suburbs of NJ, and our house was the place everyone wanted to be! Not just for the pool, but because my Mom was an amazing hostess (and still is at 77!), who always brought snacks out (in little wicker baskets lined with napkins), and drinks and desserts, such as jello. She had cute little glass dessert coupes, and she would serve it in them. (I wish they had survived until now, but they didn’t!) My brother was also a great DJ, and would play rock music on my sister’s stereo, and crank it out of her upstairs bedroom window so we could dance in the pool! All of our friends wanted to hang out at the Hanlon House! Thanks for bringing me down a very fun memory lane! Peace, Patti

  • sue carlyle says:

    Our local art gallery had Art Mart every year, and one year there was a blue jello pool with goldfish – think early 70’s – they let the kids play in and eat out of it!

  • Joella West says:

    My all-time favorites from the 60’s: my mom’s “gelatin salad” made with one box lemon jello, one bottle Del Monte Chili Sauce, one can crushed pineapple. I’m pretty sure no one has eaten that in decades. But topping that, and never made by me, was the recipe for a White Jello Wedding Cake, made in a mold to resemble a layer cake. Ruth, I bet you have that jello cookbook too.

  • Jo Procter says:

    Growing up during WWII days, we always ate jell-o as well as singing the song J-E-L-L-O! (the sponsor of the Jack Benny Show) until my mother yelled, “Stop.” Much later, driving my almost-college age daughter around the country to look at possible colleges, we came across the famous jello bar in Minnesota and stopped in to find it a cafeteria of jello – I’d sweat 150 different kinds. What a jewel but I think it’s out of business.

  • nan merritt says:

    As a kids in the 50’s and 60’s we used to eat Jello straight from the box! Part of the fun were the colorful tongues of red, yellow, orange, and green. Don’t think blue had been invented yet.
    A sweet memory.

  • Joy Kramer says:

    Surely everyone has a good memory of Jello. When my kids were young I made Jello cubes adding cream and the layers separated into two. Lime was our favorite (well, it was mine and I was making it). Finger food Jello! What can be better?

  • santafefran says:

    I remember drinking warm jello as a kid when I was feeling under the weather. Anyone else?

  • Jeffrey Rothbart says:

    I loved Jell-O as a kid–made by anyone but my mom. Hers always had a film on it that was not soft and required chewing. Concentrated chewing! Blech.

  • Sue Freedland says:

    I remember sprinkling dry Jello on buttered toast as a kid ! Yum ,at least that’s what I thought when I was a kid ! You need to visit the Jello. Museum if you get a chance ,

  • Isadora Dahlen says:

    I loved Jello as a kid in the 50s and 60s. My favorites were cherry and grape. I would shake them in my mouth until the Jello became liquid. All through the 60s our church in Minneapolis had a stewardship dinner and faithfully served cherry Jello with miniature marshmallows and bananas. A big winner.

  • Elle says:

    Remember Jello no-bake applesauce “cake” with graham crackers?
    The whole thing gets frosted with whipped cream or whipped topping so nobody knows the layers will be the colors of 2 different flavors of Jello.