Al Malpa Ephemera


1909 Jell-O Cookbook "Desserts of the World"

1909 Jell-O Cookbook "Desserts of the World"


If you’re inclined to think of Jell-O as ordinary, you should see this cookbook! But first, a little Jell-O background for those who need it.

From University of Michigan Special Collections Library, American Culinary History Collection:

“First trademarked in 1897, Jell-O began its rise in popularity with the introduction in 1904 of the prophetic slogan ‘America's Most Famous Dessert.’ Soon accompanying the slogan was the blonde Jell-O Girl, an icon of the product for almost half a century. As the slogan aspired, Jell-O became both famous and quintessentially American: it is sweet and processed, colorful and slightly fantastical. Advertising for the brand worked hard to appeal to the many Americas, negotiating class and race (with varying success) to suggest versatility. In the period 1904-1929, Jell-O advertising was distinctively characterized by luscious color illustrations of ‘molded jellies’ (what we would know as ‘gelatin molds’) elaborately decorated and served in equally illustrative settings. Fantastical settings – fairy tales and Arabian nights, domestic settings real and imagined, foreign and American – positioned Jell-O as not only America’s most famous dessert but one that was ‘at home everywhere.’

“’Desserts of the World’ (1909) largely imagines food preparation and consumption around the world. The first full page illustration, however, is a scene from the garden of Eden, perhaps akin to the folk stories and fairy tales. Eve, modestly attired in a sleeveless, above the knee, dress of leaves, is about to pick the proverbial apple, watched by the snake and in the presence of a peacock. Below this scene sit three glasses of Apple Snow Jell-O and the phrase ‘JELL-O, The American Dessert.’ A full recipe is given on the opposite page: the red of the forbidden apple is mirrored by strawberry Jell-O, the snow is made with beaten egg whites, sugar and grated apple. Presumably this is intended as a post-fall image, with Eve’s clothing signaling both her shame and the acceptability now of eating apples, especially in Apple Snow.

Desserts of the World" promotes Jell-O. Includes descriptions of desserts in different cultures with appropriate illustrations of mealtime; recipes for Jell-O desserts; and illustrations of period dress, product packaging, and serving suggestions; and mention of gold medals won by Jell-O at expositions of 1905, 1904, and 1907. Some recipes use wine as an ingredient. Sample recipes: fruited Jell-O, peach snow, and Neapolitan Jell-O.

 Condition: Excellent with the exception of bent bottom and top right corners. The interior looks like new. There are ten leaves, 20 pages not including the covers. Binding is tight. Original hanging string is still attached. Covers are a medium-weight card stock. Size 5.25 x 7.25 inches.


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