There really always is room for a certain gelatin product
I’m pretty lucky that I get to write about food. I don’t do resto reviews (that’s another person’s game) but I do view eating and reading about food as research. It’s important for me to know the difference between beurre monté and beurre manié or how tripe can be made into a delicious meal. If a writer who deals in politics didn’t know the significant differences and intricacies between the various political parties, would you trust them?
I didn’t think so.
So when people ask me what are some of my favourite things to eat, they often expect me to come up with some hoity-toity dish served in some obscure place. My own aunt likes to joke with me, “You cooking a pig head again for supper?”
But if I had to chose one of my favourite things to eat, it’s not something delicate or obscure, or costly. It’s actually cheap, both in price and in character.
I fucking love jell-o*.
*A note: When I say “jell-o”, I mean any artifically flavoured powdered gelatin treat. If I use the term, it’s like people who use the word “kleen-ex” sans capitalisation. It’s a generic term. This post is not an endorsement, hence my lack of capitalisation in my usage of the word. I just don’t feel like writing “artifically flavoured powdered gelatin treat”. It’s annoying to do so, for me the writer and you the reader. Moving on…
There are lots of reasons why. There is that artifical hue that promises an even more artificial yet near-impossibly perfect flavour. And that smell when you open the packet… it smells like the colour, rather than any fruit it’s supposed to represent. But then again, what is blue raspberry supposed to taste like? (No, I mean really. Blue things taste like blue. There are next to no other descriptors for that flavour/colour)
I’ve talked about how I tend not to buy packaged and processed foods, and how hard it is to maintain that decorum during the summer months. Going through the freezer aisle at my local grocery store can cause tension between my partner and I as he eyes the chimichangas while I refuse his indulgences for premade entrées.
But then we get to that aisle where a certain gelatin product is found. My partner rolls his eyes when I pick up packages of the stuff, my whole face alight with the promise of a strangely satisfyingly slippery sugar delivery system.
Cause really, when you think about it, the texture of jell-o is not exactly appealing. It wiggles. Food that wiggles generally elicits a negative response in people. Think of aspic. You can stop now, because I know you just went, “ew”. I did too.
But I let that pass when it comes to jell-o. Oh, and that weird skin that you get on the top of the stuff? I fucking live for that shit. Why? Because it’s a textural difference in what is generally a uniformly-textured dish. It’s the pope’s nose of gelatin desserts.
Don’t get me wrong. If there is homemade apple pie, or truffles or tortes for dessert, I’ll happily eat those. But when I feel I need a little lift, a little sugar high, a little comfort, I take out the kettle, rip open a package, and pour that powder into one big bowl, and wait. I wait until it jiggles just right. And then, it’s chow time.