Love it or Hate it: Jell-O

by David Holub

Love itHonestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly what Jell-O is, other than it probably contains gelatin (not even sure what that is). And something about horse hooves. How horses got tied up in this colorfully bouncy treat, I don’t know.

I love Jell-O because it’s the most socially-acceptable food that is equal parts sustenance and toy. Just by eating it you’re kind of playing. I mean, who can eat Jell-O without tapping it with your spoon and watching it jiggle and undulate for hours? Give me a room and a Jell-O GIF and I’ll be occupied for a day.

Jell-O is also highly versatile. It’s a tasty frankenflavor dessert, a lifesaver for the infirm, you can mold it into any shape you like, and it’s a great place to suspend fruit or office supplies for practical joke purposes.

Jell-O is also one food loved most by the very young and the very old. We come in to the world eating Jell-O, and leave it eating Jell-O. If I made a graph titled “The love of Jell-O, by age” it would look like a U, high for babies and the elderly, lowest among those 40-ish or so (with a small spike around Jell-O shot age).

It may not be filling, but Jell-O sure is fun.

— David HolubHate itJell-O jiggles on the plate, which isn’t natural. Food shouldn’t move of its own accord. Remember that scene in “Jurassic Park,” when the annoying little girl realizes a deadly T-rex is approaching because her green Jell-O is wriggling around wildly on the spoon? That freaks me out. And I don’t mean the dinosaur.

It’s sort of limp and flaccid, and often oddly colored, like toxic waste. When people devour Jell-O, they are wont to suck or slurp it into their mouths in a fairly unflattering, unappetizing way. I’d imagine it’s perfect for senior citizens who don’t have teeth and cannot chew. And I know children like it, because of the aforementioned nutty colors and how it can be molded into unique shapes and because it wobbles and quivers and kids enjoy that kind of kinetic entertainment.

I’ve also heard adults can consume alcoholic treats called “Jell-O shots,” but I’ve personally never had the pleasure. It’s just too gross.

— Anya Jaremko-Greenwold


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