It’s National Eat Your Jell-O Day!

Your Humble Narrator with Winter Fruit Mold

Yeah, it’s Jell-O fruitcake… (And yes, the person who took this is a foot taller than I am, which is not saying much…)

So a while ago I was googling Jell-O (don’t ask) and stumbled upon a factoid – July 12 is National Eat Your Jell-O Day. I noted it in my calendar and resumed googling. (Really, don’t ask.)

Procrastinator that I am, I left doing something about it until the last possible moment, and yesterday after work as I researched National Eat Your Jell-O Day, I discovered that the reason it’s on July 12 is that July 12 is Bill Cosby’s birthday.

Oh dear.

I think we’d all rather not make that association anymore. Still, if you google “National Eat Your Jell-O Day”, it’s in all the calendars for July 12, and we can’t just go around changing all the calendars on the internet now, can we?

Green Jell-O brain - with marshmallows, natch

Green Jell-O brain – with marshmallows, natch

I say we just re-claim this holiday, treat the day as though it were based on, say, the Mayan calendar. (Let’s not make it a lunar holiday, though. Then it’ll keep moving around and we’ll never be able to keep track of it.) Let’s make it all about the Jell-O, because that’s what’s important.

So in honor of National Eat Your Jell-O Day, I decided to put up a little New Joy of Jell-O retrospective. Jell-O has changed my life in some weird and interesting ways.

For those of you who haven’t read the “About the Project” page, I started this blog on a dare. I had been grumbling at length to Bryan about Julie Powell’s success with her Julie/Julia Project blog after we saw the movie Julie and Julia. (Okay, I admit it, I was jealous.) Thinking he’d get me to shut up about it, when we got home he said I should start my own though-cooking blog, and he pulled The New Joys of Jell-O from our bookcase full of cookbooks and handed it to me.

Yellowish salmon "mousse", lovingly garnished with dill, in a fish dish

Salmon DIll Mousse – so bad, even the cat wouldn’t eat it

I don’t think he really thought I’d do it. Considering that by that point he’d known me for over twenty years and married me twice, you’d think he would’ve known better.

Two wine glasses of some sort of dark red fruity stuff with a lot of foam on top

I have absolutely no idea what this is. Looks purty, though, don’t it?

I mean, it didn’t seem like it would be that hard. Depending on how you count, there’s a little over a hundred recipes in the book. And it’s Jell-O, ferchrissakes! Cafeteria food! Sick-day food! It’s the easiest bloody dessert to make in the world after cut-up fruit!

It turned out that two Jell-O dishes per week, plus the photography and writing (in addition to work, fitness activities, and other life things) was a bit much. Strange as it sounds, I got burnt out on Jell-O.

Even stranger, though, was the way that the Project haunted me. For four years it haunted me, until some friends convinced me to restart it.

Even with a proper editorial calendar and careful pacing, it hasn’t been totally smooth going, but I finally feel like I’m on track to see this thing through to the end. I like that the New Joy of Jell-O Project gives my life a sort of weird, random purpose, and it feels good to be writing regularly, getting a little creative, and stretching a bit into visual arts.

I think I’m even getting to like Jell-O. I’m kind of looking forward to the next one, actually…

Happy National Eat Your Jell-O Day!

two-layered mold, top layer red jelly with cranberries, bottom layer mayonnaise and apples

Layered Cranberry-Apple Mold – looks like a critter from “Star Trek” (the original series)

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