Back in January, I shared my New Year’s resolution to follow in Vanna White’s footsteps and try at least one new recipe a week

I managed it, for a while.  Then I got a little lazy, and made something I’d made before, and decided to rephrase the resolution as follows: “I will make at least one recipe (from scratch) every week – preferably something I’ve never made before – but an old and well-loved recipe is okay too.”

Now we are into March, which is the month in which moribund New Year’s resolutions generally die and are forgotten.

I made Jell-O last week.

Yes, I know.  Little box, boiling water, cold water, put it in the fridge.  But let me ask you: when’s the last time you made Jell-O?  (I’m lying, actually; it wasn’t Jell-O, it was Great Value Lime Gelatin Dessert, which I bought at Walmart for fifty-five cents.)

We were in Walmart – I needed black socks, and a picture frame, and isopropyl alcohol.  And Partner said: “What about groceries?”

I never think of grocery shopping in Walmart, but I began looking down the grocery aisles, and my goodness how cheap everything was!  We did pretty much our entire weekend grocery shopping right there, plus lots of impulse items.  The gelatin was one of these; I was darting down the aisle and saw those demure little boxes there, and I had a quick flashback to my childhood, and they were fifty-five cents!, and –

Well.  Naturally I made it with mini-marshmallows.  (These were ancient, and hard as rocks, but I put them in the microwave for a few seconds and they puffed up and became young and soft and fresh again.)  My mother used to put mandarin oranges in her Jell-O; I only wish I had some.  I need to stock up.

And I’d forgotten the wonderful smell that rises out of the bowl when you pour the boiling water over the gelatin powder: sweet and fruity, really heavenly.  Then you stir it slowly, and it seems to thicken before your eyes.

The instructions on the box told me to stir for two minutes.  I did, while meditating.  I thought about a story one of my college professors told: gelatin, while mostly protein, is not a “complete protein,” in that it doesn’t contain all of the amino acids human beings require in their diet.  This was not known until after the First World War.  Sadly, many WWI refugees were given a diet high in gelatin, because it was known to be protein; many became very malnourished, and some died.

Also: you know what they make gelatin from, right?  Hides. Hooves.  Yum!

(I ate it on Sunday evening.  It was very refreshing.)

(I also accidentally spilled some on the rug. I tried to clean it up, but I missed one blob, and Partner stepped right on it, and shrieked. You can only imagine what it feels like to step on a blob of cold Jell-O.)

I still maintain that I’m keeping my New Year’s resolution.

Next week maybe I’ll make Gorton’s Fishsticks.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to Jell-O

  1. kleeyaro says:

    Your food stories crack me up. Rock marshmallows. Man, those must have been ancient. And ain’t Wal-Mart great. You can buy eggs, bath towels, bread, light bulbs and tires, all in one store. My husband’s family has this weird green Jello dessert for Thanksgiving. They call it Martian Salad. It’s green Jello with cream cheese, pineapple and other stuff. I don’t like it.

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