The recipe for Glorified Rice comes from the earliest Jell-O ephemera in my collection: Jell-O, America’s Most Famous Dessert, At Home Everywhere published in 1922.
It’s the grand tour of Jell-O. It’s kind of cute, because it’s playing off American’s increasing desire to explore their country. With the growing popularity of the car and continental railroads criss-crossing the land, there was less and less of America that was inaccessible to the average citizen. Additionally, Jell-O’s advertising bread and butter at this time were pastoral oil paintings, scenes of everyday life from across the nation, of a fine enough quality that they were displayed in galleries and museums everywhere (allegedly).
Jell-O’s version of America is romantic; but it is also a stereotype.
It’s a Chinese cook! Cooking what else– but rice!! And I think that cowboy’s mad. “Rice again??” he says. And I think that other guy it going to steal the Jell-O! Crazy! The caption: “In The Cattle Country: Jell-o is so easily made, and the package takes so little room, that it has been on the provision list of places like this for years. It makes a dessert possible where ‘pie timber’ is both scared and costly.”
Left: “Under Northern Lights: Far-fetched? Not a bit of it, except in the sense that this box of Jell-O has been brought a long, long way. For we do have customers who live under the Artic Circle, and who say cold, hard things of us if we do not arrange for shipping connections before the trails are closed with the winter’s snows.”
Right: I think Catholicism may represent diversity in this image.
“In the Mission Country: It is a many sided America. Into the quiet of such places as this Jell-O has made its way. It is in keeping with the strictest fast days, and in its fancy forms will measure up to the standard of a feast day.”
Left: “Wherever hot water is available, even in a ‘Gipsy’ auto camp, Jell-O may be enjoyed. Yet in other circumstances it may be moulded as elaborately as this Neopolitan.”
Right: No trip around American is complete without romanticizing slavery.
“Jell-O costs so little that it may be found in the most unpretentious homes of the old plantation. It is delicious enough to be accepted by those at the ‘Big House” who have cultivated good living as a fine art.”
When I paged through this pamphlet, I came across a Jell-O technique I was unfamiliar with: The Whip. Essential, you whip Jell-o until it fluffs like whip cream. That’s essentially the way you make marshmallows: whip gelatin to a foam and then let it set. I was intrigued and decided to give it a whirl; I found this recipes for Glorified Rice, which seemed like it might be a little like rice pudding.
I did as the recipe told me, including “salt to taste” despite the fact I had no idea how much salt I liked in my Jell-O. When I unmolded the dish and took a bite…the glories of rice pudding were the furthest from my mind. I cannot tell you how unappealing rice is when it’s floating in Jell-O. Not the creamy dream I had hoped for, the too sweet, too lemony Jell-o broke around dry, flavorless grains of rice. The combination was NOT delicious.
However, I found another recipe in this pamphlet that sounded simple and satisfying: lemon Jell-o dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water, then mixed with 1 1/2 cups ginger ale. This was a delight. It had a taste that reminded me of lemonheads, and felt like it was made of bubbles. The original recipes added walnuts, and maybe celery. I recommend keeping it simple. My version was a refreshing summertime treat.
Tomorrow…things get worse.