Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jell-O Central, Give Me Seven

Seven boxes, that is. Or really, however much is around.

Picture this:

It's 1947 and there are still wartime shortages and rations up in Canada, where you live a tranquil, normal life (save, as we shall see, for a raging passion for a certain dessert).

And then you hear through the grapevine (which apparently is not rationed, it never is, is it? there will always be a grapevine!) that your third cousins twice removed who live in Saskatoon have - well, gosh, they have Jell-O.

Great day in the morning!

So you pack up the kids and the wife - and the dog too, of course. Old Spot probably has a hankering for Jell-O too, he's in that family, why not.

Oh, and don't forget to bring the wife's hatbox, the kids' toys, the newspaper, maybe some work from the office - and set off. Who knows how many days you will have to drive, but just thinking about Jell-O gives you extra energy. Yummy, delicious, exciting Jell-O.

And how pleased Cousin Gert will be to see you all, ready to stay, oh, at least a week - maybe more!

Because when you get there with all your luggage - and no hostess gift that I can see, incidentally, to sweeten the moment - you don't say "hello" or "we were just in the neighborhood and thought we'd pop over"(better keep the suitcases in the trunk for now if you say this).

No, no. You say, "We heard you have some JELL-O!"

Won't they be pleased to "share the thrill with guests"!

Wait just a minute, what exactly is in this Jell-O? I know it was scarce - you can hardly read the ad and not get that.

But "magnetic attractiveness" sounds like the box of dessert mix ought to be out in Hollywood making movies, not sitting in a glass dish on top of some stale old cake.

Must be the "locked-in Jell-O flavor." Hmm. Maybe it was better back then, more fabulous. Because no Jell-O in my memory ever made me want to go careening all over the country, banging on people's doors.

This ad suggests that if Cousin Gert didn't want tons of visitors, she should have brought the Jell-O into her house under cover of darkness and then locked it up in the safe. You brought it on yourself, Gertrude! Next time, put the box straight into a steamer trunk. With a padlock on it.

Otherwise, there's no telling how many gelatin-dessert fiends are going to be on the doorstep, acting like it's a combination of Halloween and the annual family vacation.

Mildly interesting note: This is from a 1947 issue of Chatelaine, the Canadian woman's magazine. Does anyone know if Jell-O was such a rare commodity in the US back then?


Michelle Gartner said...

Somehow I doubt jello was ever a rare commodity it flows like rain at church socials.

I am not a big fan of jello... read the wikipedia entry for gelatin and that pretty much sums up my aversion.

Colored & flavored bone glue aint' really my thing.

~~louise~~ said...

I'm not much of a Jell-O fan either and I can't think of any reason why it would be considered "a rare commodity" in 1947. Shortening may have been in short supply but that was a good thing for Jell-O, I would think.

Now if that family landed on a door step in Utah, I might understand. Perhaps, they were looking for Jack Benny.

You know Lidian, once again I must save this post for my next Jell-O post. Thanks for sharing:)

Tori Lennox said...

I did some googling and found that while Jell-o was not officially rationed, sugar was which caused production of Jell-o to be scaled back and most of what they did make got sent to the military.

TheSnackHound said...

What's this...Jello is so good that they decide to MOVE OVER? Maybe it was more of a novelty back then. I think that they need to get on the stick and come out with a new flabor
Something might be in the air, because I just wrote about my sister who would run AWAY from Jello...


The Work From Home Mother said...

You are so funny. I love reading your post. Thanks for spreading Jello's goodness!

Chat Blanc said...

holy cow, now I'm scared of Jell-o! I never knew it could have such an effect on people. ;)

Bill said...

You are so damned funny!
These Jell-o ad writers sure sound smug, don't they? I hope they enjoyed the shortage while it lasted, lording the scarcity of Jell-o over people who wouldn't give it a second glance otherwise.

The only weakness I have for Jell-o is that it's fun to use the Tupperware mold that my mother gave me years ago.

Judy said...

LOL..."Like Grandma's - only more so!" Exactly what does that mean? Better than Grandma's? How did Grandma make "Jell-o"? Obviously not as good as we can! Oh well, we don't like Jell-o at our house, so if it gets scarce again, we'll send you our ration coupons.

Kloggers/Polly said...

I can remember the first time I ever heard the expression 'jello' when listening to a film a long, long time ago. I wondered what on earth could it be. In England we call it Jelly! - I suppose it is similar to cookies and biscuits, gas and petrol and so on ...

Lux said...

I wonder if the beans plan on having jello for Thanksgiving. ;-)

Lidian said...

Michelle - I only really like coffee jello made with plain gelatin and, um - coffee. And sugar.

Louise - I wonder if Jack Benny liked Jell-O?

Tori - I am sure that you are right about the sugar rationing, thank you.

Snack Hound - I want to read about your sister and the Jell-O! And will do!

Work From Home Mother - Thank you! And I love reading your blog too :)

Chat Blanc - I will never tell anyone about what dessert mixes I have around again!

Bill - Maybe they were just trying to make Jell-O seem more glamorous...

Judy - I was also wondering about grandma and her Jell-O!

Kloggers/Polly - And crisps vs chips, too!

Lux - Hope your beans have something like pumpkin pie instead! :)

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Love your blog! Have you ever been to the Jell-O Museum in Leroy, New York? It's well worth the trip. Lots of funny/retro stuff. I'm planning on doing a post about it on my Eccentric Roadside blog some time soon. http://www.eccentricroadside.blogspot.com/