Today is a day Dessert Advisor can definitely get behind. A day dedicated to one of the most fun desserts around… it’s Eat Your Jell-O Day! Jell-O is a registered trademark of Kraft Heinz. However, if you are planning on observing the wiggly-wobbly gelatin dessert holiday, you’re in luck. Other perfectly acceptable substitutes include England’s Hartley’s and Australia’s Aeroplane Jelly. These all come in a variety of bright and fun flavours like berry blue, raspberry, lemon, and lime! From NYC art galleries to backyard swimming pools, we explore some creative uses for the yummy gelatin sweet.
Gelatin desserts were popular among the wealthy during the Victorian era. These treats became more accessible when manufacturers Pearle Bixby Wait trademarked the collagen dessert as Jell-O. They joined forces with Orator Francis Woodward, who was already marketing successful food products to the masses. Over time, home economics classes were becoming popular, and with them tea parties and dinners were becoming more elaborate. Gelatinous options like Jell-O were not only low calorie and affordable, but added a delicate and feminine touch to the tea time table setting.
One modern-day artist who demonstrates this three-dimensional femininity while embracing the collagen angle is Sharona Franklin. Her beautiful Jell-O sculptures reference her British Columbian childhood when she used to collect flowers and herbs with her siblings. In interviews, Franklin comments on the biodegradable medium’s flexibility that allows her to pay homage to the animal-based medicine that helps her maintain normalcy despite having an illness.
Other art-gallery-worthy Jell-O or gelatin desserts include Vietnam’s mixed fruit dessert, Chè Thái, and rainbow dessert, Chè Sương Sa Hạt Lựu. Even Japan’s kohakutou candies look like crystals that are almost too good to eat! Another stunning vegan dessert hailing from Japan is mizu shingen mochi, or raindrop cake. Only a recent addition to the dessert world, the raindrop cake, is very far from a traditional cake. You make it by combining just two ingredients: agar, the vegetarian alternative to gelatin that’s made from seaweed, and special mineral water that’s sourced from an underflow of the Southern Japanese Alps of Mount Kaikoma. Apparently, it has a naturally sweet taste to it! The concept of edible water inspired the creators. Once you place it in your mouth, the droplet is supposed to elegantly dissolve!
If rough-and-tumble is more your style though, there are countless fun and aesthetically pleasing ways to incorporate Jell-O into today, and we couldn’t let you go without mentioning ex-NASA engineer, Mark Rober’s 15-ton pool full of jelly! Yes, you read correctly. He actually turned his brother’s backyard swimming pool into a bouncy and edible pool of red jelly that his friends dove into. With six months of preparations before mixing it and letting the jelly set overnight, this video is worth a watch. Particularly at the 5-6 minute mark!
Celebrate Eat Your Jell-O Day and go make a gelatin dessert!