Jell-O Cup Memories

July 8, 2010

red jello

One of my earliest childhood memories of my grandmother, Ruth, is the red Jell-O treats she served whenever we visited.

Sometimes she’d pull them from the fridge in the backroom behind their grocery store (more on that in the months ahead), other times from the fridge in their upstairs apartment. She always made them in leftover Dixie ice cream cups, a concept gelatin manufacturers have now stolen and market as their own unique selling point. Copycats.

Anyway, in my memory, the Jell-O was always red.

Now, Jell-O made in one big bowl is okay. But there’s just something fun about Jell-O in individual cups. It’s one of the many endearing things grandmothers do that make a kid feel just the most special in all the world.

I eventually grew up, and my associations of food to my grandmother matured as well. I don’t recall her having an epicurean interest in cooking (I think she was too busy for that), but she was a good cook nonetheless.

I’m posting one of her recipes below. I know there must be others floating around—do you have any? Please share in the comments. Or email me, and I’ll post them.

Ruth Larson’s Crescent Rolls

2 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teas. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
7 to 7-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 warm milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir in rest of ingredients. Knead five minutes. Cover with damp cloth and let rise 1-1/2 hours, or until light. Shape into crescents. Let rise 40 minutes. Bake 350 degrees, 15-20 minutes.

Update:
Rebecca came through with some cool scans—good examples of what Ruth may have been cooking for Ladies Aid. Thanks!

Ruth Larson's crescent roll recipe

Kool-Aid punch recipe

fruit cocktail cake recipe

Pineapple Salad recipe

sloppy joe recipe

chef boyardee spaghetti recipe

Okay, I’ve gotta say, Chef Boyardee spaghetti does not sound good! I think this recipe and the sugary ones above are indicative of cooking styles in the 1960-70s. And that’s something I think Ruth was pretty good at—keeping up with trends. I remember she had a microwave before I did!

Also interesting about this recipe: The thank you for David’s birthday gift. What do you think that was about? Dave did you ever have Chef Boyardee spaghetti on your birthday? Yummmm….:-)

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10 Responses to “Jell-O Cup Memories”

  1. Terri Says:

    Awww, you beat me to it. My first thought was her crescent rolls, too!
    Grandma introduced me to the open sandwich concept. How strange, I thought, to eat a sandwich with only one piece of bread.

  2. Buck Says:

    Somehow, years ago, I ended up with one of Grandma’s recipe boxes. There were a lot of church lady potluck type recipes (stuff with ground beef, rice, potatoes or tator tots, and cream of mushroom soup) and tons of dessert type recipes. Some of them were written in her handwriting. A lot were magazine or newspaper cutouts. I still have some of recipes that she wrote down, mostly for sentimental reasons.

    • adunate Says:

      How about sharing one or two? Better yet, if you have access to a scanner, I can post the image and we can all have the recipe and Grandma’s handwriting.

  3. buck Says:

    I guess I have more than a few of Grandma’s recipes! Some of them are in pencil and fading fast. Any idea on how to preserve them? I am scanning a few to you, Di. If anyone wants anything in particular let me know. Have a lot of cake recipes, some fruit punch, several jello salads, Tator Tot hotdish and other ground beef recipes, lots of bread and rolls, etc. Also a few interesting ones such as “Escalloped Cabbage” which sounds like a very easy recipe but would definetly not go over good at my house!

  4. buck Says:

    And also according to the cresent roll recipe I have (she wrote “Butter Horns” at the top also) she included 1/2 cup (I’m assuming) warm water. I also have what I’m thinking is the original cresent roll/butter horn recipe written in someone else’s handwriting. Maybe where she got it from?

    • adunate Says:

      Thanks for the correction on the crescent recipe. Of the many recipes I wanted when i got married, this was foremost. I still make crescents for big family dinners, only now I use butter instead of shortening. Isn’t it interesting how what goes around, comes around? We’re back to using butter again and calling it healthier.

  5. adunate Says:

    Thanks, Buck, for the recipe scans! They’re super!

    The escalloped cabbage sounds like Owosso’s Cech influence coming through, doesn’t it? Reminds me of Salem’s potluck dinners.

  6. Dave Says:

    This post reminded Lori and I of a dinner at Mom and Dad’s when Grandma Klotz brought a jello with corn beef hash and sliced hard boiled eggs in it. We don’t remember if it was red or green jello, but at that point would the color have made any difference? Lori refused to try it and I took the smallest portion possible in order not to offend Grandma.

  7. Rachel Says:

    How pleasurable to see Grandma’s handwriting. Such nice work, Di.


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