Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh, the Joys of Jell-o

Back in the dark ages, when I first started cooking, I purchased The New Joys of Jell-o Cookbook.  Think I paid a dollar for it.  Making jell-o, for whatever reason, fascinated me.  There was just something about sucking jell-o through my teeth.  Come on, admit it, you did it too.

My mother made jell-o on Sundays.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe, jell-o was just that special.  It seems that most of my students purchase jell-o already made.  I'm sorry, but some things I just need to make myself.  Jell-o is easy to make, hot water, cold water and a package of jell-o.  However, you do need to plan ahead.  It's got to chill in the refrigerator.

Jell-o or gelatin is actually an animal protein, made from collagen.  Have you ever noticed that meat drippings become jelly-like when cooled?  Well, that's jell-o or as it is scientifically called, gelatin. Since it is low in the essential amino acid, tryptophan, it is an incomplete protein.  When jell-o cools, it actually forms a protein gel.  Although we think of jell-o for desserts only, gelatin is used frequently in the manufacture of food, such as, marshmallows, yogurt, ice cream and cream cheese. 

In it's early history, jell-o was made the well-to-do.  Because to make jell-o, you needed a refrigerator or icebox.  To purchase a refrigerator or icebox, you needed to have money.  Thus, jell-o was made by those with money. 

Now that jell-o (and refrigerators) are available to the masses, why not make a simple dessert of jell-o.  With a little planning, your dessert will be ready when you are.

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