Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I just wanted to give a quick post about America's (statistically) favorite dessert.

I mentioned a few days ago that Jello and most gelatin products in the world are bovine-based. Yes, Jello is made from the hooves, bones, and other parts of the cow left over after slaughter. I am not a vegetarian, but when ever I see that jiggling mass of lime-green dessert, I can't help thinking that not so long ago, it was sloshing around in the muck of a pasture.

Gelatin dishes have been around for a long time, but in the old days, you had to pick a calf, kill it, cut off it's legs, boil them for a few hours (hooves and all) to remove the collagen, cool and skim the water, and then you could get started on the actual cooking. Is it any wonder that housewives went crazy when the neat little packets of powdered Jello appeared around the turn of the century?

"Hmmm, let's see. I could do a day and a half of nasty work or tear open a paper packet and add boiling water. Jello, here I come!"

But I have found that gelatin is not your only option. The Asian cultures have come up with some very nice substitutes using fish and sea plants. The only downside is the slight "fishy" taste that occurs when cooked. That's why I love MJ's chill over powder. I'll admit that it is a little pricier than it's jiggly counterpart, but it is much more versatile. You can make it in any flavor that you can imagine. (to date, I have made a chocolate dessert, a yummy honey and nut mold, and Jigglers from orange juice for Peanut) I have found all of MJ's food to be worth it.

So, at the risk of sounding like an ad, I'll tell you to go and give Mary Jane a look. If you are lucky enough to have a sizable Asian market near by, take a trip and see what you can find. Most of all, become responsible and be aware of what you are eating. Those flashy boxes and bags may contain more than you want!


MegLogan said...

So you dont like gelatin because it comes from cooked hooves? Because at one time before cleaning the cow was walking in its own poop? I dont think i will trade gelatin for a "slight fishy taste" but thanks for the info!! It is quite interesting to know some other alternative is out there.


impromptu-mom said...

I know it may sound silly, especially since I have no other qualms about eating meat. It's purely a matter of asthetics. I just have a hard time eating a fruit and jello salad while sitting there thinking about cow hooves. I see dessert but think slaughterhouse.

Hannah Im said...

Nice article! Here in Korea where I live they have very nice gelatins made from acorns and from mung beans--both with a slightly nutty taste. But as far as I know, they can't be made from a box. Or maybe they can, but they just don't.