April 13, 2004

latter-day fixin's!


I'd like to interrupt your usual blog broadcasting for a tidbit of culture many of you might have missed: yes, I'm talking about Mormon Jello Dessert.


While my family did not become actual Mormons, the rest of my 735 cousins did, and every few weeks we decide to experience the culture shock of leaving Hollywood and venturing into the San Gabriel Valley for a dose of Latter-Day Saints. My own relationship with the church is fraught with many contradictions and inner turmoil, but my family is terrific, and we always have a great time.

The meals, however, always teeter on the edge of bizarre, and nothing typifies this more than Mormon Jello Dessert. I was probably 15 before I noticed that this concoction was being served at every function. The dish is an ever-changing amalgamation of dark-colored jello that is land-mined with deeply incongruous fruit: you should not be surprised to find carrot cubes stuck in the gelatin, like trilobite fossils hung forever in rock. You might come across the thorny skin of a pineapple, the shaving of watermelon rind, or even globs of maraschino cherries. It's not far from the jello dish the grandmother brings in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," you know, the one with Tender Vittles Cat Food in it.

The pan is refrigerated, and then topped off with a three-inch viscous layer of Dream Whip (powdered milk from the apocalycloset recommended). I warned Tessa about the dish before we got there, but she actually took a big helping and finished the whole thing! I began wondering who this chick "my wife" really was.


Although Republican by nature, Mormons are also strict survivalists, which made them a perfect audience for the Prius. They took turns driving, and the whole family was deeply impressed. For a group of people who keep two years' worth of food stored in their homes, a car that gets 60 mpg would be perfect for the End Times. If Jesus ever shows up and all the gas pumps are rendered useless in the Rapture, at least we know the Prius will be the last car running.

Posted by irw at April 13, 2004 11:41 PM
Posted by: Laurie from Manly Dorm at April 14, 2004 4:59 AM

I nearly split a gut laughing at today's entry! Thanks for the laugh -- I needed it early this morning. Your Prius has made quite the impression! By the way, you and Tessa are an adorable couple -- your recent photos, including bunny ears, are very cute. Have a good day.

Posted by: rhonda at April 14, 2004 5:25 AM

Is it not the truth! The Latter-day Saints can whip up some interesting food... but I must say, I've made the same sour cream sugar cookies since my good buddy mormon friend, jodi's mom taught us how at the age of 15. My four year old now makes them with me and we mail the photos of her covered in flour back to "untie jo" and her family of five in Oregon. Jodi's mom, "corky" is so proud, never did convert me but I did accquire the appreciation they have for food and fun with the family - Should the tough times come, our mormon friends and family can help get us through, those well stocked pantrys can be a good thing!

Posted by: Caroline at April 14, 2004 5:44 AM

It's not just the Mormons, pal. My family makes a similar dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas, only the Cool Whip is mixed in the jello (lime) with the random nuts and bits of things, which makes it all sort of monkey-vomit green and lumpy.

Posted by: Alan at April 14, 2004 7:05 AM

I was going to say, I (a minister's kid) have had the experience at many a church supper of digging into my share of the jello mold to find, rather than orange and pineapple bits, the spine shivering texture of carrot and celery. Is there an eccumenical newsletter shared secretly amongst church ladies on this stuff? That being said, I am a devotee and a fine judge of the scalloped potato dish because of these same good folk's good work. The Swedish version, with a smattering of fish, is up there with the version dauphinoise: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/dauphinoisepotato_65929.shtml

Posted by: michelle at April 14, 2004 8:30 AM

Umm, did anybody notice that the deviled eggs in the middle of the table were colored? I mean, it's one thing to color the egg shells, but an Aunt Marilyn altogether another thing to color the whites!?!? I still wish I could have been there, though. I agree with Manly Dorm above that you guys are an adorable couple, but the Prius is sexxxxxyyyy.

Posted by: CarlaS at April 14, 2004 8:31 AM

Yeah, this is no Mormon Exclusive. My mom makes this holiday dish she calls "Watergate Salad" and it's much like what Caroline (below) describes. It's cool whip, pistachio pudding, pineapple and nuts. This year, my mom put in crushed strawberries for added flair. It looks like fluffy mold, but it's SO amazingly yummy. Every family has their bizarre food contribution. It's what makes holidays and families fun.

Posted by: Alan at April 14, 2004 8:42 AM

Not dissimilar to the 1960's standby in the 'burbs of Toronto called "ambrosia" which was a white sweet glommy glob including coconut flakes, tinned mandarin orange segments and other preserved ingredients. [Kind of like a desert version of my pal's "soup of seven cans" in terms of its creation.]

Posted by: Emily at April 14, 2004 11:09 AM

My family has a holiday-centered, jello-based dessert, too! Ours is a bit more "fruity," with raspberries and mandarin oranges mixed in raspberry jello. But being the sugar addicts we are, we like to put mini marshmallows on the top after the jello sets, and spread sour cream over the whole darn thing. This has become such a popular dish in my house that every time I come home from school for a weekend, I demand that my mom make it so I can bring it back to Maryland and take a break from the diner food.

Posted by: Jennifer at April 14, 2004 11:27 AM

For my Northern family, it's Watergate Salad (as described above by Carla). For my Southern family, it's a concoction of cottage cheese, orange jello (still in powder form), mandarin oranges, pineapple and Cool Whip. Both are oddly delicious.

I'm also a big fan of "finger jello" but it HAS to be made in a special pan that's identical to the one my grandmother always used. God bless eBay because I was able to find this pan after one of my aunts claimed Grandma's pan (grumble, grumble). The bottom of the pan is molded into blocks and each block has a letter of the alphabet or a toy-type symbol in the center of each block. Recipe is:

3 packages (4-serving size) Jell-O, any flavor
4 envelopes Unflavored Gelatine (Knox)
4 cups boiling water

Mix flavored and unflavored gelatin in large bowl; stir in
boiling water until gelatin dissolves.

Pour into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Cut into small squares or assorted shapes. Store in refrigerator.

If you love Jello, this is the site for you:


Posted by: Alan at April 14, 2004 1:22 PM

The late CBC radio broadcaster Allan McPhee in the 70's and 80's on his bizzare late nightly show called "Ecclectic Circus" used to praise "Mom Mifkin's jellied gin". Sadly the recipe was never given out, thought the bath used to make a version of jellied gin by McPhee's radio pal Max Ferguson is apparently still in CBC Studio F in Toronto: http://www.cbc.ca/weekender/abouttheshow.html

Posted by: Salem at April 14, 2004 9:17 PM

We don't throw in the chunky parts, but the Jasper Family Steakhouse has an exciting twist on Jello fun! Instead of putting the cool whip on top, stir it in while the jello is still hot liquid. The two gue naturally separate into a lovely two tone gelatinous treat.

Posted by: Greg at April 15, 2004 8:38 AM

My wife's family in Highlands, NC serves ambrosia (much as described above) at many events. I can't attest to it's quality - I'm afraid of it.

Posted by: Cyn at April 19, 2004 6:17 PM

It's one big Kraft commercial, right here in blogland! Cool!! (whip)

Posted by: Beth at April 22, 2004 6:12 PM

Growing up Mormon, I was well-aware of this scary dessert. But it wasn't until my parents moved to Salt Lake City for a year that I learned that not only do the people of Salt Lake City consume more Jell-O per capita than any other city in the United States, but in 2002 the residents of Utah voted to name Jell-O the Official State Snack!

I'm happy to report that my parents have now moved to Hawaii, the Spam Capitol of the World.

Beth (a friend of kmeelyon's)

Posted by: J at May 2, 2005 4:43 PM

Made a mistake on the other email. Its actually 'eccumenical' and 'carrot'!!

Posted by: SugarRx at February 18, 2010 7:05 AM

What a wonderful blog! Love seeing the family take turns with the Prius! And FYI, I am Roman Cath NYer, not Mormom, but have loved funeral potatoes and utahs famous green jello. Any homestyle mormon recipes you might want to throw my way would be greatly appreciated as those ormons sure can cook! YUM! I think they should give the Food Network a run for their money! I admire all of your you for your cheery outlook on life and embracing family values as they should be! Bravo!!!!

Posted by: Mugshots at April 3, 2013 8:30 PM

Know of any prett boys? I pay well.

Posted by: 1055 at April 25, 2013 3:07 AM


Posted by: toptan at April 27, 2013 7:56 AM

Hi, I do think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!

Posted by: toptan at April 29, 2013 10:00 AM

I must thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now ;)

Posted by: Puja And Homam at May 8, 2013 8:32 PM

An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should publish more about this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people do not speak about these subjects.
To the next! Cheers!!

Posted by: hone at May 30, 2013 3:34 PM

Eventually I'll come up with my own questions on these matters and that's where the real fun begins!.

Posted by: ingersoll rand 231c parts list at June 11, 2013 3:03 AM

Currently it seems like Drupal is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

Posted by: Pinkie Eliseo at June 19, 2013 9:10 PM

Prostata to męski narząd mięśniowo-gruczołowy. Umieszczony jest w miednicy mniejszej, poniżej pęcherza moczowego.

Posted by: presto 02160 stainless steel electric pressure cooker at June 21, 2013 3:36 AM

I am really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

Posted by: gfi.es at June 25, 2013 10:30 AM

GFI es una empresa sensacional

Posted by: seo brisbane at July 5, 2013 4:27 AM

When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you are able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!

Posted by: bongs at July 5, 2013 4:29 AM

This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

Posted by: tinnitus relief at July 6, 2013 4:01 AM

Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!

Posted by: serenity malibu at July 6, 2013 12:18 PM

I love it whenever people come together and share opinions. Great site, stick with it!

Posted by: phen375reviewszone.com at July 6, 2013 1:20 PM

I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now ;)

Posted by: Top SEO Companies at July 6, 2013 3:20 PM

Can I simply say what a relief to find a person that truly knows what they are discussing on the net. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you are not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

Posted by: green coffee bean at July 6, 2013 4:25 PM

I seriously love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my very own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Kudos!

Posted by: invest in gold at July 7, 2013 10:19 PM

Right here is the right website for everyone who would like to understand this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for ages. Great stuff, just great!

Posted by: top survival knife at July 8, 2013 11:22 AM

Howdy, I do think your web site could possibly be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent site!

Posted by: orange county seo at July 8, 2013 3:18 PM

It’s difficult to find well-informed people for this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Posted by: buy real twitter followers at July 8, 2013 10:28 PM

I like looking through a post that will make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

Posted by: Hébergement Web Maroc at July 9, 2013 4:42 AM

When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

Posted by: rbs ppi claims at July 9, 2013 2:23 PM

I was very happy to discover this great site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new information on your web site.

Posted by: BLS Certification at July 10, 2013 10:19 AM

Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

Posted by: buy real active instagram followers at July 10, 2013 10:15 PM

It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

Posted by: Top SEO Companies at July 11, 2013 4:09 AM

I blog often and I truly thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

Posted by: ACLS at July 11, 2013 9:44 AM

I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

Posted by: Seo community at July 11, 2013 12:32 PM

Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this website needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

Post a comment

(We won't show it.)

Remember personal info?