There’s always room for Jell-O’s salad

I grew up in an age when gelatin salads were, nutritionally speaking, seen as the moral equivalent of vegetable salads, proudly served in place of fresh greens—even though my grandmother often upped the nutritional value by placing a rectangle of Jell-O on One lettuce leaf. On church outings, large bowls of foamy ambrosia with fruit, gelatin, cold, cheese and marshmallows were not on the dessert table; They were paired with the three bean salad or the pasta salad because they all tasted great with the fried chicken.

We are now living in a healthy era of extreme sugar awareness and know that flavored gelatin, canned fruit, and whipped toppings are by no means the same nutritionally as leafy greens and vegetables. Objectively speaking, this is progress. However, emotionally, I’m still attached to the idea of ​​Jell-O salad as a legitimate side dish. I crave it at outdoor gatherings with grilled meats or any type of chicken in a bucket. As far as I’m concerned, no meal or backyard barbecue is complete without it.

When we recently hosted a small 4th of July barbecue, I set my table with a homemade potato salad, a vegetarian salad, and a tray of pistachio-lime gelatin “salad” with canned tangerines, mini marshmallows, and whipped cream. I did not follow the recipe. Instead, I just combined a few things that had been sitting in my pantry for a long time and wished the end result was palatable. Before you fall back on the idea of ​​combining lime and pistachios, remember that they go well together because they are both green. The gelatin composition was the approximate color of Kermit’s frog and tasted like a stick of lemon stripes gum, meaning it was deliciously unnatural. Her perfection was not in spite of her artificiality, but because of her.

The next day, I went online and found all kinds of recipes pairing lime gelatin with pistachio pudding. Most recipes have names like “Grandma’s Jell-O Salad” and other similar references to the fact that older Jell-O is apparently. Well, my grandmother called me and put me on one of the handy plastic rain covers that the older ladies carry, because I love the sparkling, sparkling stuff. However, it got me thinking: What else can I make with Jell-O and instant candy? The combinations are endless. Well, mathematically speaking, they are not infinite. The Jell-O brand makes 22 flavors of gelatin and nine flavors of pudding, that’s 198 possibilities. I tried a few of them in 2020, when epidemic boredom was hitting its peak. It was probably what I enjoyed most in the kitchen, apart from lighting my toaster on fire.

But let’s go back to today’s show. This gelatin dish, which is definitely dessert in that it’s not so good for you, combines the classic summer flavors, strawberry and lemon. I made it according to my personal requirement for Jell-O Salad, which is that it should contain tangerines, marshmallows and a creamy ingredient. It is not a luxury kitchen and does not require any particular effort; It’s about nostalgia, not complexity. To clarify: If a pistachio-lemon mix tastes like Fruit Stripes, then it tastes like SweeTarts.

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