When I was a youngster, there was a Jell-O mold or two on the table at every Sunday dinner, holiday meal, and potluck social. And every wedding and funeral buffet. I was born in Kansas in the 1950s and lived there through the 60s. Jell-O recipes were everywhere—in magazines, on TV and radio, and pinned to grocery store and church bulletin boards. And my grandmother, Freida Riely, seemed to have mastered most of those recipes.

She had several little wooden boxes filled with recipes written in her quirky hand on index cards. One of the boxes was just for “salads,” and most of those salads incorporated Jell-O in one form or another. Some of the recipes were noted by color. Green and red for Christmas; red, white, and blue for July 4th; pink or green or yellow for Easter. You get the idea.

There were several of grandma’s Jell-O concoctions that I really, really liked. My favorite was Lime & Cottage Cheese (with horseradish).

Another favorite was Lime with Pears and Cherries, and then there was my Thanksgiving favorite, Fluffy Cranberry Mousse.

I have to admit I was an odd child with odd tastes. As a little kid, I loved liver and onions, asparagus, and oyster stew. (And, I still do.)

Click the vintage Jell-O ad above to download a copy of their 1905 recipe book. And have yourself a merry, merry Christmas.

Meantime, I’m going to make another of my grandmother’s gelatin masterpieces: Tomato Aspic.