See-through food


My grandmother was born in the early part of the century.  She had a baby in the mid-forties.  Jello was just getting solidified (so to speak) as a food of a new generation of parents and kids.  Multicoloured and moldable, jello became a symbol of the new food economy.  In her kitchen, there were 3 tall decanters that were filled with water stained with food colouring.  Those decanters stood as the epitome of modernity for the 21 years of my life that I knew her and likely well before those began.  They were simple see-through refractors of jello-coloured light.  I cannot help thinking of the bowls of jello in her fridge and those flutes of red and green water whenever I think about her.  They formed a wobbly bridge between my perception of her black and white tv memories and the technicoloured ones I could not think without.

Jello is still with us, but we are well over the jello salad phenomenon of the 50's.  Now salad has come into its own and no longer involves suspended fruit and shredded carrot.

But jello is still see through. It is still easy for a 7 year old to make. It is still quenching to eat after illness.  Jello still brings light into the last dregs of winter.

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