Now that Overland Park's Piccadilly Cafeteria is closed, what local restaurant still offers glistening, jiggling cubes of gelatin dessert as a light, refreshing way to end a heavy meal? Well, the Calypso Buffet at the Isle of Capri Casino keeps the tradition going, thank goodness. Other than the occasional buffet restaurant, however, it's nearly impossible to find Jell-O on a modern dessert menu.
Hey, I'm not saying I would order a Jell-O dessert even if it was on a dessert tray -- but I like knowing that some retro restaurant still serves it.
Though it's considered lowbrow by modern culinary standards, Jell-O has never lost its fan base among home cooks, who have been making the powdered product since it was introduced in 1897. It's an inexpensive dessert and can be molded, mixed with fruit, blended into a pie or a summer salad -- even cole slaw!
This snazzy soft-cover cookbook was available for just 25 cents "and any six fruit illustrations from Jell-O packages" in the early 1970s. Not all of the recipes sound so good (Avocado Pie, Ring-Around-the-Tuna), but the classic recipes are represented, including a couple of variations on the Waldorf Salad, orange-glazed duck (who knew?), and Frozen Ambrosia.
If you happen to have some leftover angel food cake around the house, here's a fun and easy way to use it up in a festive format: Pink Party Dessert!
PINK PARTY DESSERT
2 packages frozen strawberries (10 ounces each), thawed
1 package Jell-O Strawberry gelatin -- not the Sugar-Free version
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
Leftover angel food cake
Drain thawed berries, reserving 3/4 cup syrup. Dissolve Jell-O and sugar in boiling water. Add syrup. Chill until very thick. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes. Arrange half of the cake pieces in a 13x9x2-inch pan. Fold drained berries into gelatin. Pour about half the mixture over the cake pieces in pan. Top with remaining cake pieces and gelatin mixture. Chill until firm. Cut into squares. Makes 15 servings.