Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Shelf: The New Joys Of Jell-O Brand Gelatin Dessert Recipe Book, 1973

This slim, unassuming volume was probably a cheap premium sold with multiple packages of everybody's favorite jiggly concoction of sweetened and fruit flavored ground-up hooves and boiled stomach linings."The joys of Jell-O Gelatin are never ending," they claim inside, and I believe them! The recipes are fairly unremarkable; I doubt Jell-O formulations and possibilities have changed much in the intervening years. The photos, however, have that wonderfully lurid, saturated technicolor look of the period. Here are my favorites (click any for bigger):

I also wonder if any of these pictured dishes are actually made of real gelatin? It's hard to imagine them withstanding the studio lights. Look at the photo below – is it food suspended in dyed acrylic casting resin?


J. Matt said...

But where did you acquire this wonderment?

Angry Parakeet said...

I gasped with delight as I recognized the very first photo. I have this book - a friend who has a dear mother with a penchant for such things in 1973 knew I would love it and gave it to me. As far as the photos depicting real Jello, all you have to do is add extra Knox gelatin and you can stiffen even the most elaborate Jello dessert into obedience. I have a swirly conical gelatin mold that I have graced with numerous ironic concoctions, such as a whole octopus suspended in a clear gel.

Zac said...

OMFUG please tell me you have pictures of the JELL-Octopus

samael7 said...

Jell-O is one of the prettiest things ever. I mean that unironically. The colors, and the glistening. Even without supersaturated color photography dazzling you.

Even the absolute JellObominations that have things suspended within them, or is itself somehow suspended inside other thing (I'm looking at you, white "cake" in picture #4, with slice laid out ready to be snatched up), transcend mere dessert and freefall somehow into Gaudi-esque architectual sculptures. It's like I'm about to eat a piece of Sagrada Familia or Park Guell.

Lulu Maude said...

In the US, the good citizens of Utah consume more Jell-O than those of any other state.

I learned that from the SLC winter olympics.

Learning is everywhere!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

My next cocktail party, I am serving nothing but different jello dishes.

Alikchi said...

I think one of my favorite things about your blog is that when something dreadful happens, politically, you don't wallow in it. See the Giffords shooting. It's awful, we all know it, and maybe we all need to just laugh at something.

This is why your brief 'unsuccessful' digression from political blogging earned you kudos in my book.

John said...

Samael7 is right, there is something a bit Gaudi-esque, specifically Park Guell about the slice of white "cake" it definitely is reminiscient of the broken-ceramic-shard-style Gaudi pioneered if not invented.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I'm pretty sure it's molded, colorized acrylic in the pics.
I never make or buy Jell-O, but if I happen to be somewhere and spy some kind of molded J on the buffet table, I am spooning some into my plate.
Who knew powdered animal hooves could be so darn yummy?

john said...

I used to be a professional photographer; I'm betting these photos -the interior shots- were lit with flash, not "hot lights" as they were referred to, because the lighting is very soft. Yes, soft light can be achieved using hot lights with appropriate diffusion, but there is a definite look to hot lights, I've worked with both hot lights and flash (or strobes, the proper term for flash) and this lighting looks like strobe.

Granted, food stylists use all kinds of weird stuff to make food look great, but one of the great advances in photography starting in the 60's was strobe, and one of its advantages was and is strobes don't get hot like "hot lights" (tungsten, or "klieg" lights are the original hot lights used in movies and video.)

So as long as the room wasn't hot its very possible its the real Jello in the shots, but god knows what the floating objects are.

Its more than likely the set was kept very cool to prevent the jello from melting. Food photographers have to work in very cold rooms when shooting ice cream simply to keep the product from melting before the shot is done.

G. Randy Primm said...

As a former professional food photographer in the days of marbles in the Campbell's alphabet soup scandals, I can assure that, yes indeed, those Jello molds are custom cast-wax fruit suspended in acrylic.

And a good job, too & also.