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Author Topic: Mormons and jello salad
Omega M.
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This is kind of silly, but why do so many people (mostly Mormons) make jokes about Mormons eating jello salad? Just recently I've seen

someone in an OSC book saying (paraphrased}, "I may be Mormon, but I don't cook like one, so you won't get any jello salad from me";

a recent Aaron Johnston column saying, "I'm sure there's a first-person shooter being developed somewhere aimed at embarrassing the Church. Maybe it's called Attack of the Green Jell-O Salad. You play the toothpick-chewing, gun-toting federal agent assigned to take down the monster those wacky Mormons created and set loose on humanity";

and someone on an Ornery thread saying, "Lots of people find green jello with shredded carrots repulsive, but that doesn't make them Mormophobes."

I assume that people make these jokes because jello salad is served at a lot of Mormon functions, but how did that specific food become widespread enough to have jokes about it?

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mr_porteiro_head
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The joke is far more prevalent than the jello. I haven't seen jello at a church function for many years, even though I hear jokes about it all the time.
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dkw
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I’ve heard jokes about Jello salad in every denomination that has potlucks (although more in rural areas than in cities). When Jello first came out it was a marker of social class – it needed to be evenly chilled so only women who had refrigerators could make it. Some older folks who grew up on farms and didn't have electricity as children still think of it as a fancy treat.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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You find the same jokes among Lutherns in the North Central States. (See the joke page on A Praire Home Companion web site.) It has to do with food taken to be consumed at a community meal. Jello Salad is colorful, easy to make, and often less expensive to prepare. You find the same jokes with "Funeral Potatoes". Mormon congregrations generally do not have as many community meals as in the past. So, younger Mormons might not see the salad, just the jokes.
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TheGrimace
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More or less akin to Catholics and Bingo I'd imagine, even though I haven't seen Bingo at any church functions for more than a decade.
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Jon Boy
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At family get-togethers, we always have at least two or three kinds of jello salad. It wouldn't be a real family get-together if we didn't. Strangely enough, though, I have never once had or even seen the infamous green jello with carrot shreds.
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JennaDean
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I used to see a lot of Jello salad at church dinners as a kid, but at this point I can't remember how long it's been.

Jon Boy, I do remember shredded carrots and even worse - chopped celery in green jello. Ewww. I used to eat around those bits.

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dkw
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The worst I have seen was lemon jello with bananas, celery, and black olives topped with a mixture of mayonaise and cool whip and sprinkled with grated chedder cheese. [Eek!]
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mr_porteiro_head
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:barf:
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Jon Boy
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I've heard of something like that before, dkw (the olives, mayo, and cheddar cheese, anyway). Sounds downright revolting.

Jenna, one of my aunts always makes jello waldorf salad. Thankfully she doesn't include the mayo. *barf*

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breyerchic04
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My family is not Mormon or Lutheran, but at reunions we always have a jello salad (usually red with sourcream on the bottom) and funeral potatoes.
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maui babe
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
The worst I have seen was lemon jello with bananas, celery, and black olives topped with a mixture of mayonaise and cool whip and sprinkled with grated chedder cheese. [Eek!]

EEeewwww that's just vile... It's amazing what unspeakable things some people do to food.

When I lived in SE Idaho, pot luck and funeral meals always always always included jello "salads". They were served with the tossed green salads and potato salads and most definitely NOT on the dessert table with the cakes and brownies and such.

Right after we moved to Hawaii, a member of our congregation invited us to dinner at his home and asked us to bring a salad, so I made a jello/pudding/fruit concoction that I might have put in the "salad" section of a pot luck table in Idaho. He was confused when I unwrapped it, and asked if he'd asked me to bring a dessert...

It's certainly more of a regional thing than a "mormon" thing. I never see jello here at church dinners. It's always rice and macaroni salad instead of funeral potatoes and jello salad.

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lem
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quote:
and someone on an Ornery thread saying, "Lots of people find green jello with shredded carrots repulsive, but that doesn't make them Mormophobes."
I know Mormon Rap introduced "green salad with shredded carrots" into my subconscious. It may even be responsible for putting it in the collective conscience.

quote:
"Hey Mom, What are we having for dinner?
Green Jello Salad with Shredded Carrots?
MY FAVORITE!!"


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romanylass
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quote:
You find the same jokes among Lutherns in the North Central States.
But not, I must point out, on either coast.
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The Rabbit
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Jello is part of a whole suburban, middle america cuisine from the 1950s. It goes along with casseroles made with cream of mushroom soup, baked beans from a can, funeral potatoes, meatloaf and fish sticks. These are foods which are home cooked but start with a heavily preprocessed ingedients. Although some of the items can be quite good, they lack the character and quality of traditional foods that are made from scratch. They also tend to use few fresh seasonal ingredients and instead focus on things that can be purchased canned, boxed and frozen. The preprocessed stuff ingredients are usually quite bland (mostly sweet or salt). The cuisine is really typical of a period of American culture when the focus was on volume and convenience rather than quality.

Jello has kind of become the poster child for this era

We used to have jello salads several times a week when I was a kid. While there are some nasty varieties, some of them are really very good. My mom would make raspberry jello that had more raspaberries than jello and was topped with dream whip. She also made one with cream cheese and pinnapple. There was this red jello that was made with orange juice in stead of water that had grated carrots in it that I remember quite fondly. I also remember this recipe where you removed the seeds from a honey dew melon and then filled it with red jello and bananas. It looked very pretty when you sliced it.

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ketchupqueen
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When I was on bedrest my first pregnancy, my visiting teachers brought me a very nice dinner-- roasted chicken, Hawaiian rolls, some pasta dish, steamed veggies. And then I opened up the little container of dessert-- lime Jell-o with pineapple! *giggles* I guess you can't get better without it!
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It goes along with casseroles made with cream of mushroom soup, baked beans from a can, funeral potatoes, meatloaf and fish sticks.
Mmmm... Comfort food.
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Omega M.
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I figured it had to do with potluck meals; I was just wondering about it because I personally hadn't heard jokes about it with reference to groups other than Mormons.

I sometime have jello salad consisting of fruit and jello at family functions, and it's pretty good; but I wouldn't try it with carrots or anything like that.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
When Jello first came out it was a marker of social class – it needed to be evenly chilled so only women who had refrigerators could make it. Some older folks who grew up on farms and didn't have electricity as children still think of it as a fancy treat.
[Eek!]
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dkw
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Yep. We think of it as a cheap and easy thing, but originally it was a high-falutin' fancy dish.
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TheGrimace
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Fun things to do with Jello:

Make it a point to be able to relate every philosophical/theological discussion for your entire college stay to jello (My favorite is how Sheol and/or purgatory is like banana jello).

Make a fun jello pretzel salad: crushed pretzels baked with a sugar and melted butter sauce, topped with a sugar, whipped cream and cream chese layer topped with strawberry jello topped with sliced strawberries... it's been a family favorite for a long time but everyone at school thought I was crazy whenever I brought it to a function.

and until this discussion I had never heard of jello salad specifically related to mormons, just related to family/church potluck events in general.

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Yep. We think of it as a cheap and easy thing, but originally it was a high-falutin' fancy dish.

It's an interesting process, isn't it? It wasn't that long ago that vanilla was a high-falutin' fancy flavoring; now it's so pedestrian as to have become synonymous with "bland" or "boring".
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El JT de Spang
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You take that back! Vanilla is too good to stoop to everyone else's level, and I for one am sick of all this flavor affirmative action! It's not plain, it's delicious!
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mr_porteiro_head
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White bread is another one that used to be fancy schmancy, but now is synonomous with "bland" or "boring".
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romanylass
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quote:
(My favorite is how Sheol and/or purgatory is like banana jello).

OK, how are they?
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Anti-Chris
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I love Lime Jello. LOOOOOVE.
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Tante Shvester
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My people are not big on the jello-eating. But we have two gelled dishes that are by far more barf-inducing than the "lemon jello with bananas, celery, and black olives topped with a mixture of mayonaise and cool whip and sprinkled with grated chedder cheese".

The gefilte fish in the jar always came packed in this fish gel. Awful, awful stuff. And then there is p'tcha. 'Nuff said.

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TheGrimace
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The long and short of that one is (and I'm paraphrasing a highschool classmate on this one who was in turn paraphrasing his parish priest):

Sheol is like banana jello, because it's not really bad... but it's not really good... it's just kinda... There... (works a little better in person).

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CaySedai
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Since the topic of Jello came up, I've got to introduce you all to the Gallery of Regrettable Food and one of my favorites: Jello confronts the Depression.

I think my mom actually has some of those cookbooks, like the Better Homes and Gardens Meat Cook Book.

(and forgive me if this has been posted here before - I don't remember how I found it.) [Wink]

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rivka
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Tante, I'm with you on the fish gel (when buying the jarred stuff, I choose "in broth" whenever possible).

But p'tcha is YUMMY! And I haven't had any in years and years.

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Tante Shvester
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Well, I included a recipe. Now all you need to do is find a foot and get cooking.
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rivka
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I often have the feet in my freezer. But they taste almost as good in soup, and are a lot less work.

I want someone else to make p'tcha for me! [Wink] (And since my mother is not much more fond of it than you, that seems unlikely.)

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