Have yourself a merry little Christmas, and make some tasty, memory-making Jello-O molds.

Cover image of 1905 Jell-o recipe book.
Cover image of 1905 Jell-o recipe book.

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.

By Stephen Brockelman

As a Sr. Writer at T. Rowe Price, I work with a group of the best copywriters around. We belong to the broader creative team within Enterprise Creative, a part of Corporate Marketing Services. _____________________________________________ A long and winding road: My path to T. Rowe Price was more twisted than Fidelity’s green line. With scholarship in hand, I left Kansas at 18 to study theatre in New York. When my soap opera paychecks stopped coming from CBS and started coming from the show’s sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, I discovered the power of advertising and switched careers. Over the years I’ve owned an ad agency in San Francisco; worked for Norman Lear on All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son, and the rest of his hit shows; and as a member of Directors Guild of America, I directed Desi Arnaz in his last television appearance— we remained friends until his death. In 1988 I began freelancing full time didn’t look back. In January 2012 my rep at Boss Group called and said, “I know you don’t want to commute and writing for the financial industry isn’t high on your wish list, but I have a gig with T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills…” I was a contractor for eight months, drank the corporate Kool-Aid, became a TRP associate that August, and today I find myself smiling more often than not.

1 comment

  1. Stuart Danker – Malaysia – A Malaysian writer who's been in the no-niche niche for a decade. His debut novel, Tinhead City KL was published in April 2021. www.stuartdanker.com
    Stuart Danker says:

    Wow, love the theme about the past here, and it’s a huge difference from when you wrote that e-mail grading thingie for the Mihai newsletter when I first discovered your blog. And I adore rereading 19th century books (I have one on penmanship) so this recipe book seems up my alley. But I can’t access it for some reason.

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