The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 07.28.04


It's J. E. L. L. O. time

It is possible that there exists a human on this planet that hasn't heard of Jell-O, but I doubt it.

In fact my theory is that the universe came to be by a collision of Jell-O crystals and cosmic debris.

Food theorists such as myself have been contemplating the nature of gelatin for centuries and now we have discovered that global warming threatens its jiggly continued existence. After all, Jell-O is nothing without a good chilling. If we wanted warm Jell-O we'd drink coloured sugar juice 'cause that's what it is.

It is bad enough that Jell-O does not sit well on a fork and even worse that the 'X-Treme' label has sullied its fine reputation. Capitalist kid-catering companies insist that the original Jell-O flavours are just too darned boring. Hence such flavours as Berry and Watermelon X-Treme.

If I wanted an extreme Jell-O experience I would sky dive or bungee jump with my shorts stuffed with gelatin. Better yet, I'd stuff my shirt with X-treme Grape and get into the mosh pit at a summer punk concert.

Perhaps we can blame the changing of a good thing on scientists whose brains are too big by the following observationů

On March 17, 1993, technicians at St. Jerome hospital in Batavia tested a bowl of lime Jell-O with an EEG machine and confirmed the earlier testing by Dr. Adrian Upton that a bowl of wiggly Jell-O has brain waves identical to those of adult men and women.

You see? Our brains are identical to those moulds that your mother made for the annual company picnic. I like to think mine is made up of the finer raspberry variety. Also, it is not a no-name brand.

My brain is similar to Bill Cosby's, who knows everything about Jell-O and pudding. The difference is that mine is prone to emitting a signal that causes me to swear profusely when I see too much Jell-O at the dessert section of a restaurant buffet. Don't get me started about buffets. French pastries? I think not!

The thing here is that good old original flavoured Jell-O was good enough for grandma and as such was good enough for mom. This equation makes it good enough for me.

It's a historic Jell-O triad that shouldn't be messed with, and the only thing I won't do is add the dreaded cottage cheese and pineapple for a festive fish mould.

While there are many things that never should be done with Jell-O, I will allow that a couple of creative uses are of value. I am modern and adaptable in some cases as you'll witness by the inclusion of summer Jell-O recipes here. There's one recipe for the kids and one for the adults.

Can you say brain-freeze?

Fruit and Jell-O popsicles

1 pkt (3 oz) fruit-flavoured Jell-O
1 cup fresh cut up fruit
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water

1. Combine Jell-O and sugar in a bowl. Pour in boiling water, and stir until well dissolved. Cool slightly.

2. Add the fruit that compliments or matches the flavor of the Jell-O.

3. Pour into Popsicle molds and freeze overnight or for several hours.

A favorite combination is strawberry Jell-O and strawberries.

Jell-O shots

Three packages of Jell-O containing sugar

1 1/2 cup vodka
3 1/3 cups water

Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat. Slowly stir in the Jell-O until dissolved. Wait three minutes, stir in the vodka.

Pour into individual shot-size cups and chill.