The (Supposed) Joys of Jell-O
Judging by the style, "Joys of Jell-O" comes from the late sixties-early seventies. The years have not improved things, unfortunately. It’s still more corporate insecurity. Just as the Merita Bread people felt compelled to come up with new uses for bread, the fine folks behind Jell-O were so afraid that the cool people won't let them sit at the cool table during lunch that they're determined to scare up various and sundry recipes that show just how versatile their product is.
Attention, Jell-O magnates: We love your product. Really, we do. Generations of Southern grandmothers raised us on a diet that was 95% red Jell-O with a can of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in it, so we've loved your product ever since we first spied the jiggly stuff. And since our grandmothers were astute enough to regularly render that concoction, we all know that Jell-O should be embellished with nothing more than fruit cocktail, with maybe some Coo Whip on top if you're feeling particularly sassy. So there's no need to come up with mutant dishes that combine Jell-O with weird foods, creating truly stomach-inverting foods that should never, ever exist outside Alton Brown's nightmare journal. When you come up with stuff like the "Joys of Jell-O" book, you're like the kid who tries so hard to make everybody like him that nobody ends up being able to stand him, except that one girl who's so sweet that she'll treat anybody with respect.
Make your product, rest secure in your product, and don't try so hard. We like you.
As for the book itself. In addition to chilled madness in the photos, the book also has lots of laughable copy. From the “Salads” chapter, we read, “Prepare these recipes; then defy someone to say that you're not ready for anything. “Yeah, you’ll be ready for anything after you’ve sunk cabbage and radishes into Jell-O—a mental institution, marriage counselors’ office, etc.
“You see, you can serve them as desserts, as salads, or as snacks for the troops when they come in and demand something at the drop of a hat.”
If one were to really try serving this stuff, your own troops would frag you into a bloody mist, and not a military tribunal in the world would find them guilty.
“When you serve them as desserts, garnish with prepared whipped topping or whipped cream. As salads, unmold them on crisp greens and top with mayonnaise or salad dressing.”
That’s not a typo. They really suggested putting mayonnaise or salad dressing on Jell-O. Hanging is too good for these people.
“Fruit mixtures, whether served as desserts or salads, spring to even more delicious, vivid life if you top them with mixtures of whipped cream and mayonnaise or sour cream and cream cheese. Aren't you kind of hungry, even now?”
I’m kind of anything but hungry right now. Maybe Jell-O should have marketed this copy as a dieting aid.
But enough of the copy. Let’s get to the good old-fashioned mockery of the pictures. That’s what you paid your admission for, right?