Normally, I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am a paragon of tact and modest reserve, a model of diplomacy, but due to the recent political events in our great state of Minnesota, I feel I can no longer hold my tongue. Knowing full well the risks of offending its legions of fans I am willing to state unequivocally that I hate jello. There. I said it. The roof over my head did not cave in, lightning did not strike, the world did not come screeching to a halt in protest. Let me reiterate. I hate jello. What is jello anyway? I fear even looking up its origins. I have heard that it is made from horses hooves. That, in and of itself, should mark the end of this essay. Who, I ask, who would have ground up a horses hoof, boiled it, let it cool, had the nerve to taste it, and said “ why, if you throw in some mandarin oranges and some tiny marshmallows, you’ve got yourself a fine little dessert.” And who then, went on in all seriousness to “perfect” such a thing? The word jello, is based on the word gelatin which brings to my mind, the word gelatinous. Gelatinous. Does that sound like good eating? How about jello mold? Does that sound better? I don’t care how you dress it up, I don’t care how much sugar, or artificial flavoring, or marshmallows, or tainted fruit you throw at it, it’s still horses hooves.
I don’t know exactly when my aversion to Jell-O began. It was long before I acquired, the nickname “Snobert” for my penchant, totally beyond my control, to blurt out “How can you eat that?” whenever saw a jello dish on the buffet table. I suspect this peculiar radicalism began when I was a child and was subjected to a gaudi array of jello based food product (i.e. not real food) made by my equally colorful Aunties - Alida, Maria, Angela, and Eleanor, who, at every event presented the same wobbly concoctions with dresses, nails and lipstick to match and insisted on planting on my jaw a waxy, florid lip imprint outsized to the proportion of my little child’s face and leaving an intoxicating cloud of booze, perfume, and cigarette smoke in their wake and then laughing at the effect.
If the levels of my detestation of jello and its derivatives were set up metaphorically like the concentric circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno, plain jello being the outermost ring and working our way towards the center as we add more and more garbage into the mix, then surely the center of my jello hell would be me set in a vast gelatinous lake of jello my aunties arrayed about me like suspended fruit, kissing my face over and over while spooning in portions of the worst dessert ever devised by the devil himself and then laughing, laughing for all eternity.