Who Doesn’t Like Jell-o?

New Joys of Jello coverNew Joys of Jell-o Brand Gelatin Recipe Book
Kraft General Foods

One of our readers found this book on the Woot blog and submitted it.  You have to admit, some of these recipes are ridiculous.  The people and decor pictured are completely outdated, too.  There are plenty of libraries out there, both public and academic, with this gem still riding the shelves.  I think it’s safe to weed it.

party food

jellied gazpacho

Above: Jellied Gazpacho

moulded ham and egg salad

Above: Molded Ham and Egg Salad


  1. Whenever I would see party photos like that in books or drug scare films as a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up to join the exciting world of jell-o or LSD. Sadly, neither one was as it seemed.

  2. Ah, those were the days, when hostesses wore horizontally-striped dresses to complement the horizontal layers in the dessert.

  3. Oh gawd… my morning sickness has just gotten 10x worse from looking at those disgusting foods! Ugh!

  4. I need this book! I will lost 20 pounds without effort just by looking at these pictures and losing my appetite.

  5. In the first photo (The party scene), is it just me or is the dude 2d from the left wearing no pants?

  6. Hey, I treasure my Red White & Blue Jello salad recipe! Congealed salads are da bomb!

  7. This particular book has been featured in James Lileks’ book, “Gastroanomalies.”

  8. My great-aunt was the queen of Jello “salads” (yes, she was originally from the Midwest, where Jello counts as a salad, especially if you stick fruit and/or veggies in it), side dishes, and desserts; I’m sure she tried a few main courses, too. If she didn’t have this book, she would have coveted it very much. Alas, she is no more. Note: the alas is for her, not for her Jello creations. I hope for the sake of all those related to people like her this book is weeded. Not everything improves with Jello.

  9. In answer to your question – while I like Jello brand pudding and Jello Pudding Pops – the jiggly, wiggly, fruit flavored Jello – well, frankly –

    I HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s gross and disgusting and horrid and squishy and just all sorts of wrong.

    Also, I love the men in their suits and the one lady with the pink blouse looks nice, but white blouse lady and lady in a dress that looks like layered Jello need some help from Tim Gunn.

    So there you have it. I don’t like Jello.

    I’m also not too fond of Sara Lee.

  10. We have some Jell-O cookbooks too. There are always some that just plain don’t make sense (ahem, ham and egg salad? ew).

  11. @ Lurker – Maybe it’s a key party?

    Much as I love jelly as a dessert, the idea of eating it as a savory makes me want to chuck.

    That dress makes that woman in the top picture look awful! Lose the horizontal stripes, love, they’re doing you no favours!

  12. Those were the days! The Tupperware ring-mould with the jellied beetroot salad. Not forgetting the grated carrot ringmould done in pineapple jelly (New Zealand English for jello), of course! How on earth did we survive eating all that stuff???!!! Sure sold a lot of Tupperware on the strength of it, I’m afraid to say!

  13. While putting ham and eggs into a jello salad just screams WRONG, I still make ambrosia salad with powdered Jello and whenever I take it to a pot-luck, I always get requests for the recipe.

  14. My family owned this book in my youth, and I recently discovered a copy in a “free book giveaway” pile, and HAD to grab it for nostalgia’s sake. Of course, this book is a shill for “you can make anything with Jell-O!” Seriously, after a point you expect to see haggis with Jell-O, grilled ham-and-cheese with Jell-O, and roast turkey with Jell-O stuffing. And you were gentle with the photos–some of them are FAR worse.

    The other problem is that these dishes suffer from the “Aw, c’mon, it doesn’t look ANYTHING like the picture!!!” syndrome. Try to replicate the efforts of these pros, and you’ll not do well, I assure you. Just try and set glasses at an angle so the Jell-O sets at that handsome diagonal angle for a flashier presentation–I guarantee you you’ll come up with a mess in the fridge after at least one comes loose and spills!

    A similarly ancient booklet, “The Joys of Jell-O”, has more recipes and fewer wretched fashion statements…..

  15. “Ah, those were the days, when hostesses wore horizontally-striped dresses to complement the horizontal layers in the dessert.”

    It is what I strive for in life. I have a lot of vintage cookbooks and vintage things and furniture at my home make for a great little get together with freinds, minus keys in a bowl, of course.

  16. Lurker: I think he’s wearing khakis, but the minidress-length blazer really doesn’t do much to dispel the impression that he’s pantsless, does it?

  17. I found a gem of a jello recipe in a church cookbook where the submitter mixed canned chicken noodle soup, canned shrimp, mayo, and lemon jello in a grand gesture to bad taste. I can just guess which dish was always left at the local potluck!

  18. Sad to say, but Jello is actually making a comeback and some are touting it as the new cupcakes. I recently purchased “Jelly Mongers” by Bompas and Parr for my library which has cool recipes like glow-in-the-dark, flaming and Titanic jello. The thought of jellied gazpacho, however, makes my stomach heave.

  19. I own this book and have actually made some parfaits and other desserts based on the recipes. I fully admit it. But I substitute real whipped cream for Cool Whip. I would like to see one of these extreme chef people whip up some of these meat and corn dishes (with the discontinued tomato and cucumber jellos) to see what people really think in a taste test rather than giving someone the ingredient list and letting them say “eww” in their mind before trying it. Sometimes the strangest combos are actually good. But I still can’t get over some of them.

  20. I love that they are holding the jello in champagne flutes like they have cocktails.

  21. Oh, as a fan of all things retro, I love this book. I would probably never make any of the recipes, but I’d love to have the book for the photos and the peek into what was hip. Mid-century (this book falls slightly outside that, but Jell-O is a mid-century staple) items are finding more and more of an audience.

  22. The fashion alone outdates this book. There’s a woman wearing a mou-mou next to the guy with skin-tight nude colored pants. Oh my.

Comments are closed.