If you frequent my facebook page, you know that my wife’s family loves Jell-O. Yes, the same jiggly neon slime you remember as a kid. The stuff poor people eat when they can’t afford milk to make pudding. The token dessert for cafeterias too cheap and lazy to serve a real treat. Jell-O, right up there with fruit cake and flan as far as horrible desserts go, yet they absolutely LOVE it!
But that’s not the weird part. The real problem I have with their affinity for the rubbery goo is that they don’t consider it a dessert. They treat it as a side dish. It's served right next to the baked beans and potato salad at picnics. It’s eaten WITH the holiday meal rather than after it. Apparently they misconstrued the ad’s claim that “There’s always room for Jell-O,” to mean right alongside the entrée. I learned this the hard way, when trying to be helpful at my first family function, took it upon myself to move the Jell-O over to the dessert table (where it belonged) and was nearly stabbed with a serving fork by an aunt waiting behind me.
“Oh, this isn’t cranberry sauce,” I politely explained, misinterpreting her anger. “It’s just Jell-O.”
“Just Jell-O?” she seethed, ripping it from my hands and returning it to its rightful place between the turkey and the green bean casserole. “This isn’t JUST Jell-O, it’s Cousin Patty’s Jell-O…”
“Oh,” I said, confused. Even though I was still learning all their names, I was pretty sure Cousin Patty lived out if state. “I didn’t realize Cousin Patty was here…”
“She’s not. She lives in Florida,” answered the aunt, matter of factly.
Now I was even more confused. “So, what, did she, like, send the Jell-O?”
“No! Don’t be ridiculous. We always have Jell-O in her honor.”
“But not as a dessert?”
At this point the aunt gave up on me, spooned some Jell-O onto her stuffing, and walked away muttering about my wife’s taste in men.
As if her taste in food was any better!
Chances are this will be the last entry I ever post. It may even be the last you hear of me…until the news reports of the unidentified body found encased in Jell-O start to appear. But even my dead body would not be the weirdest thing these people have put in Jell-O! I have seen marshmallows, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, and even sour cream (gross!) embedded in the stuff. Vodka in Jell-O? Good. Dairy products, not so much.
And the madness doesn’t stop there. My wife recently received a Jell-O pie that was meant for breakfast. Jell-O cookbooks and molds are commonly exchanged at Christmas. And last summer’s inaugural Jell-O competition nearly ended in tears and accusations of cheating. All over something made from the boiled bones, connective tissues, and intestines of animals. Actually now that I see the ingredients, it’s starting to make sense why it’s served next to the hot dogs – they’re made from the same stuff!
Well, it was fun while it lasted. I expect the Jell-O mafia to show up within moments of me hitting “publish” – but I’m not afraid. I just learned about a secret weapon: pineapple! Turns out it contains an enzyme that prevents Jell-O from setting, so let’s see them try and stop me now!