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Why don't (or do) you like Jello salad?

I definitely don't like it, but I can't figure out why: Is it the texture, the ingredient combinations (lettuce in sweet jello...?), the fact that they're typically technicolor, or something else?

Books Editor and Stylist at Food52.

asked about 1 year ago
19 answers 1309 views
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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

Sigh. I long for it. Lol. Guilty pleasure. I grew up in Mission Beach right on the beach in San Diego. Every Friday and Sunday, we had a beach bbq using the cement fire pit in front of our house. We grilled everything from lobster to flank steak to fresh halibut. My Aunt Margaret always brought Jello salad and s'mores. They were my favorite part of the meal. This was in the sixties. I'm going to call her right now and remind her how much I loved her contributions. She's 88 now. Good memories tied to weird food. :)

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

Wait..lettuce involved? Never. Aunt Margaret's were like this. Sometimes layered. Always involving fresh fruit. Never lettuce.
http://www.tasteofhome...

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added about 1 year ago

growing up Jelly (as we knew it in India) was always a dessert related treat eaten with ice cream and fruitsalad, never ever 'wasted' in a salad, so I can't even contemplate the notion of it being part of a salad.

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added about 1 year ago

The only one I'll touch is a longstanding family favorite; bananas, crushed pineapple, & sliced strawberries suspended in strawberry jello -- with a layer of sour cream running through the middle. It's delicious and you would love it!

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QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

added about 1 year ago

... because there are at least two million ways it can go wrong. 99% percent of times that I gave it a try, jello was a home for some horrific food combinations. But then, there was that one percent -- the salads that were really tasty. Beyond tasty I would say. Like peas, lettuce, eggs and ham in a savory jello. Or gently scented lime jello with avocado, tomatoes and olives. But maybe these were not jello salads, but congealed salads. Where does one draw a line?

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ktr
added about 1 year ago

I've never liked chunks of anything in jello so my favorite besides jello jigglers (jello made with knox in a pan and cut into squares) when I was growing up was "pink jello salad". It's red jello that is whipped with cool whip when the jello is about halfway set. I tried jello again a few years ago and found it to be way too sweet - much better in my memories.

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added almost 1 year ago

my mother made a delicious jello mold salad using strawberry or raspberry flavor. She added celery, walnuts, frozen strawberries, and a middle layer of sour cream, like Joey's jello mold. Sometimes she added crushed pineapple. It was delicious. She unmolded the jello on a bed of greens and decorated it with whole walnuts and fresh strawberries. I tried to make her recipe several times, and not always successfully. Some of her other combinations involved Kool Whip, cottage cheese, and lime or orange jello. Those were not as appealing.

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Cav
added almost 1 year ago

Every time I've seen it spoken of fondly, it's connected to nostalgia for a person. Never for the dish itself. I'm fine with a little aspic, a terrine or jellied stock (as in a pork pie or brawn). But the idea of artificially flavoured super sweet jelly in which disparate savoury ingredients have been suspended gives me a mental gag. I'm sure many were produced with love. I doubt many were created with the thought of taste or texture. After all, they do come from people showing off that they had refrigeration (as did the jellies, blancmanges, ice creams and subtleties of history) and there's a certain amount of defiance in the dish. It just has no appeal other than a knick knack of history for me.

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drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 1 year ago

Hate, hate , hate. I grew up with it, too (and my daughter in law's mother makes it for Thanksgiving every year--STILL!) but I hate everything about it. The texture, the artificial flavors, the weird colors, the unaltered sweetness. Chunks of canned fruit. (Don't even get me started on lettuce….) Mixed with cream cheese. UGH. My mother used to have a Tupperware mold where you could stamp out little designs in the top depending on the season….hate, hate, hate.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 1 year ago

Never been a fan of gelatinous food - whether fluorescent green jello or aspic/gelee de fancyfood. My mother wasn't the type to make jello molds, but occasionally for the 4th of July, my grandmother would make a red, white and blue concoction, involving fruit and cream cheese. It wasn't usually her kind of thing either, but her immigrant zeal was stronger than her culinary tastes. I remember being tantalized by how pretty it was and taking a bite, always let down to find it still had jello's texture.

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HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added almost 1 year ago

I usually hate Jello (trademark), but I LOVE gelatin-derived food, especially stuff make with agar agar which, as well as being plant-based, yields better (firmer) texture. I find Jello too sweet, too soft, and just too artificial. So I'm in the No side of Jello Salad. Nothing I've tried in the past decades has made me want to switch sides. I remember a virulently hot pink 'salad' at Thanksgiving dinner with my FIL's girlfriend. I think it actually glowed in the dark and it was studded with walnuts. I'm still shaking my head about that.

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added almost 1 year ago

Jello Pineapple Rings. Oh what a wonderful memory!

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added 12 months ago

my mom would always make a jello salad for special dinners. she thought it was an elegant molded thing of beauty. hers had grated carrots, crushed pineapple and the jello flavor was orange or lemon. half the time she would say dagnabbit as she realized she left it in the fridge until the meal was over. i was never fond but liked the one with sour cream and or cream cheese in it. ours were always sweet, not savory. i will say for a gelatin dessert i am hooked on mango pudding as served at dim sum restaurants. so much so i special ordered mango flavored jello from england on amazon. lastly, there are little pamphlets one can buy on various sites from the middle of last century put out by jello, knudson and others that have the old fashioned recipes....ok one last jello food....shooters!

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added 12 months ago

LOVE JELLO. Yes, partly because of the nostalgia thing, but I also love custard (flan as opposed to brulee) and Panna Cotta so I must be a fan of jiggleliness. Have you seen those beautiful gelatin art flowers? They sell them at the Ferry Market in San Francisco. Or check it out on YouTube.

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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 12 months ago

I've lost my taste for it somewhere along the line. I used to make Jello for the son and the daughter when they were young and ill. Easily tolerated with a bit of protein. When I tried making it once when everyone was perfectly healthy, the daughter refused to touch it because she said it reminded her of being sick.

That said, one of my fond childhood Jello memories was a mold my mother made using strawberry Jello, fresh strawberries, and cottage cheese. I'd love a bowl of it to this day.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 12 months ago

That's the only time I really made Jello too. And you reminded me of something - my mother had a salmon mousse recipe with some plain gelatin as an ingredient, to hold its shape when made ahead. She made it in a blender, and set it in a copper fish mold - this was the '70's! At some point she gave me the mold, so I made it, thinking it would be retro and fun - until my son (around 10 yrs old then) watched me and asked why I was making fish flavored jello.

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added 12 months ago

Disgusting rubbery cloyingly sweet THING that led the way in making it acceptable to have SUGAR in salad. which has further infiltrated the American food psyche such that EVERYthing has sugar in it now!! oooooh , the evils of jello. and kool aid.

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added 12 months ago

The only jello salad I have had is an "Orange Salad" my mother makes. It has a big box of the stuff (just the powder), small curd cottage cheese, pineapples, mandarin oranges and cool whip. It always goes fast at picnics.

A close resemblance to what most everyone is referrring to is plain jello with frozen fruit added to help chill it that my grandmother always made up. Funny how between my sister and I, it was usually gone before getting remotely solidified...

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added 12 months ago

I always make "Christmas Jello" Christmas eve. It was a family tradition from our Christmas nights visit to my aunts house. Black cherry Jello that needs to be fortified with some plain gelatin, with pinapple, canned bing cherries and fresh grapefruit. The latter cuts through the sweetness.