There is something rather comforting about jello. It’s sweet, refreshing and uncomplicated. If you find yourself occasionally yearning for the past, try this old fashioned orange jello dessert. And if you decide to enjoy a bowl of it while watching cartoons, I won’t tell.
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Modern day life often feels confusing, complicated and fraught with fear and worry. I believe that is part of the reason that there is so much interest in all things retro or vintage. While there is much from the past I wouldn’t want to repeat we can certainly enjoy a bit of retro comfort in the kitchen.
I suspect many of us have fond memories of jello from our childhood. Home sick from school? How many of us were served Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, a grilled cheese sandwich and jello for dessert? If, like me, you were a child of the 60s and 70s I can almost guarantee you’ve had that exact same lunch.
Funny story: My mom was generally a competent cook but for some reason couldn’t get jello to set properly. I started making the jello in our family when I was a kid. Neither of us could ever figure out what she was doing wrong so it just became my job.
Grandma, however, had no issues making jello and often served it to the grandchildren who were constantly at her house. One of my fondest memories of jello and Grandma was just after the birth of my first child. Grandma had been a maternity nurse in the past and her ability with newborns was almost magical. She offered to let me come to her house when I was released from the hospital with baby Chris. I had had a difficult delivery and was exhausted so I took her up on it. When we arrived at her house she had the guest room all ready for us. The bed was dressed in soft, snowy white, Downy-scented sheets which were turned down waiting for me plus a crib for Chris.
After I got settled she came in with a TV tray (remember those?) and served me the best meal I have ever had. For some unknown reason, the hospital had seen fit to bring me the most unappetizing, indigestible food over the course of the two days I was there. I had no appetite anyway but the food offered didn’t help.
What did Grandma bring me? Chicken noodle soup, toast cut in strips with her homemade grape jelly and a bowl of red jello. Nothing before or since tasted as perfect.
So I say, let’s bring back the jello dessert and relive some of those good old memories.
I should have used a slightly larger dish as I had a bit more than would fit in this one. But I thought a retro dessert should be in a retro dish with a glass lid instead of a plastic-lidded one. An even better choice would have been individual dessert dishes. I used to love to use Mom’s pretty dessert dishes or glasses for jello.
Here is the finished dessert. Light, creamy and slightly tart from the oranges.
I was reminded of these jello desserts of my childhood by one of my favorite YouTube cooking channels, Phyllis Stokes. Sadly, Phyllis passed away not long ago but her channel is being maintained by her son. This video shows how to make this orange jello dessert. She also added crushed pineapple to hers which would be delicious. I didn’t have any in the pantry when I decided I needed to make jello or I would have done so, too.
If, like me, you are inspired to bring back jello, here are loads of great recipes to try:
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This recipe is linked up at Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday. Check it out for lots of great recipes!