Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the US.
It's no wonder that cough syrup and Jell-O share similar flavorings. In 1895, a cough syrup maker by the name of Pearl B. Wait adapted Peter Cooper's 1845 patent for gelatin dessert. But we all know, behind every successful man there is a woman. It was Wait's wife, May, who coined the name Jell-O. Wait sold his business to Orator F. Woodward of the Gennesse Pure Food Company in 1899 for a mere $450. Sure, back then that was a lot of money, but little did Wait know that sales of Jell-O would reach the $250,000 mark in three short years. That may have been aided by Woodward's clever use of advertising in Ladies Home Journal.
Over the years flavors came and flavors went. Strawberry arrived at Jell-O's inception and cherry soon followed in 1903. Coffee came and went in 1918. Cola? In and out in 1942. As everyone's lives got busier, the Jell-O innovators thought it important to reduce the preparation time. In 1974, it was sold with the notion that the gelatin would "set in 15 minutes." Now we are used to varieties like sugar-free, Jigglers, and X-treme flavors. I'll still take the classic recipe any day, and I'm not alone: Strawberry is still the all-time favorite flavor.
Fun Facts and Trivia:
The first four Jell-O flavors were orange, lemon,strawberry, and raspberry. Lime was introduced in 1930.
Talk about a smart way to gain brand loyalty: In the early 1900s, the company decided to offer Ellis Island immigrants a bowl of Jell-O as "Welcome to America" gift!
During an airshow at the Woodward Airport, one of the contests involved having the pilot land the plane, run up to a table and eat a bowl of Jell-O and then run back to the plane and take off.
Fruits that float: fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, orange and grapefruit sections, sliced peaches and pears, strawberries, and fruit packed in light syrup.
Fruits that sink: seedless grapes and fruits in heavy syrup such as apricots, cherries, fruit cocktail, peaches, pears, and pineapple.
In 1904, enormous numbers of salesmen were sent out into the field to distribute free Jell-O cookbooks, a pioneering marketing tactic at the time. Within a decade, three new flavors, chocolate (discontinued in 1927), cherry and peach, were added, and the brand was launched in Canada. Celebrity testimonials and recipes appeared in advertisements featuring actress Ethel Barrymore and others
In 1909, the Genesee Pure Food Company posted sales earnings of over a million dollars. Four years later, that number doubled.
The people of Salt Lake City consume more lime-flavored gelatin than any other city in the United States
January 6, 1925, Jell-O is issued a patent for a sugarless gelatin dessert known as D-Zerta.
By 1930, there appeared a vogue in American cuisine for congealed salads, and the company introduced lime-flavored Jell-O to complement the various add-ins that cooks across the U.S. were combining in these aspics and salads. By the 1950s, these salads would become so popular that Jell-O responded with savory and vegetable flavors such as celery, Italian, mixed vegetable and seasoned tomato. These savory flavors have since been discontinued.
In 1934, sponsorship from Jell-O made comedian Jack Benny the dessert's spokesperson. At this time also was introduced a jingle that would be familiar over the next several decades, in which the spelling "J-E-L-L-O" was (or could be) sung over a rising five-note musical theme.
In 1964, the slogan "There's always room for Jell-O" was introduced, promoting the product as a "light dessert" that could easily be consumed even after a heavy meal.
Billll Cosby has been a spokesperson for Jell-O since 1974.
March 17, 1993, technicians at St. Jerome hospital in Batavia test a bowl of lime Jell-O with an EEG machine and confirm the earlier testing by Dr. Adrian Upton that a bowl of wiggly Jell-O has brain waves identical to those of adult men and women.
A popular alternative recipe calls for the addition of an alcoholic beverage to the mix, contributing approximately one third to one half of the liquid added after the gelatin has been dissolved in the boil. A serving of the resulting mixture is called a "Jell-O shot" at parties. The quantity and timing of the addition of the alcohol are vital aspects; it is not possible to make Jell-O shots with only alcohol.
Vodka or rum is commonly used in Jell-O shots, but the shots can be made with almost any type of alcohol. It is important to adjust the proportions of alcohol and cold water to ensure that the mixture set when experimenting with different types of alcohol. The Jell-O shots can be served in shot glasses or small paper cups; using the paper cups makes it easier for the people to eat it, but shot glasses are more attractive. The alcohol in Jell-O shots is contained within the Jell-O, so the body absorbs it slower causing people to underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed.
Do you like Jello? Do you make it for your kids or in Jello shots, or use it in recipes?