Since I was a young, impressionable kid in the 70's, being raised by my grandparents in the summer and a single mom during the year, my idea of family and domesticity centers around jello. These were the days of jello molds, avocado green hard plastic molds made by Tupperware. This was back in the day when how many Tupperware you had represented how rich you were. Jello could be a salad, a dessert, and a quick snack for a kid who wanted to feel grown up.
As an only child, and a daughter of a very strong, independent woman, raised by other very strong, independent women, I really didn't appreciate that I was surrounded by matriarchs that were well-educated pioneers in their field; role models for the daughters that followed them. What I really wanted was a mom who would drop off layered jello squares to my elementary school, or make frozen pudding pops for the neighbor kids.
In my thinking, if I can be the jello queen, I can rule the world!
Jello attempt #1: Make broken glass jello. (Note to self: start with something easier, like one flavor jello) The picture I uploaded is NOT my jello. It's not even from my blog. This picture, along with the recipe belongs to the 'Ono Kine Grindz blog. This is a great local food blog, just way too high mucky muck for me, although I'm following. It's now at a new location - www.onokinegrindz.net and they don't use the iPhone to take pictures, but use an actual Canon EOS. Still, besides the picture, at least their recipe worked for them. My jello attempt #1 came out like a runny, gloopy mess of white brain matter with gelatinous colored goop floating in it. We ate it anyway, but even the iPhone's bluriness wasn't going to hide the disturbing white runs. FAIL.
Jello attempt #2: Make layered jello. The nice photo is what it's supposed to look like. It's from justJENN recipes. This recipe is a test of my patience. FAILURE. The first layer is the jello. The recipe says to keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. I did that, and in 30 minutes, the middle was a little runny, so I left it in for 15 more minutes. When I checked again, just a little more runny, but 45 minutes is more than 30 minutes, so I poured the white layer. WRONG! The white layer was too heavy for the bottom jello layer, and in the center of the pan, the white layer broke through and leaked into the jello layer. I now had orange jello with a mucus cloud in the middle. My solution? Take my spatula and start stirring the mostly set jello with the milk layer and set again. Because of my initial layer failure, I decided to leave every layer in for a long time. The drawback was that by the time I was ready for the last milk layer, it had hardened and I didn't have an even layer. Do you see how my version is crooked and uneven? It's because of the bottom layer and the last milk layer. We ate it anyway, but again, FAILURE.
Jello attempt #3: Go with the big guns: Call a friend. It's the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, 2 strikes, the game is on the line and I need to hit it out of the park. I decided to email my friend Merle for her jello recipe. It's one flavor of jello, knox gelatin and a cup of whipping cream. Everything is mixed together, and then like magic, the whipping cream layer starts to float up as the jello sets. Success! Now for jello cakes. . .