Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine JELL-O

Paper valentines became popular in the early 19th century and fancy ones were made with real lace and ribbons in England. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages when lovers sang or said their valentines. The oldest valentine in existence from 1400's can be found in the British Museum.
Ester Howland was an American printer and artist and the first one to produce valentines in the 1850. From that day on the valentine greeting cards business has taken off.

Valentine's Day is big business for greeting cards and candy sales. The following figures were  staggering 
  • In the US 10 million e-valentines
  • 145 million valentines sent in US with the holiday second to Christmas cards
  • World-wide some 1 billion cards are sent 
  • World-wide 5 billion roses are given on Valentine's Day
  • 73% of people who buy flowers are men
  • 15% women send flowers to themselves
  • 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate sold
  • Over 1 billion worth of chocolate sold for Valentine's Day 

But this year one of my most favorite valentines came from 26 kindergartners.  They were so proud of themselves to have printed their own name on the heart for me.
Jello got its name in 1897 even though gelatin was invented in 1845. Jello, a packaged gelatin dessert, got its name from Pearl B.Wait, a cough syrup manufacturer, whose business was not doing well. He decided to get into the food industry by adding fruit syrup to gelatin. He named his new product Jello.  Did you know that Jello was once considered a very decadent dessert and served by the upper class? And Canadians consider JELL-O a dessert? 
Currently there are 20 flavors of regular boxed JELL-O ( twist on its original name). Originally there were four flavors: orange, strawberry, raspberry and lemon. A sugar free version  debuted in 1923. 
Perhaps I have had my fill of jello recipes since in the 70's and 80's JELL-O seemed to be a staple for many meals.
Remember trying to burp the Tupperware containers hoping to unmold a perfect JELL-O salad? Well recently this recipe pictured below was served to seniors for their Valentine lunch. I have never seen so much enthusiasm  for a salad. There were many requests for the recipe that I  named Valentine Jello. But the actual recipe came from the Internet. I was intrigued by using coca cola in place of cold water.
Valentine Jello
  • 1- 6 oz. package of cherry jello
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 cups of coca cola (refrigerator temperature)  
  • 1 large banana or 2 small ones chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1-1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 small can drained crushed pineapple
  • 3 cups Cool Whip
  • Dissolve gelatin in boiling water and add coke. Mix well and refrigerate till thickened about 1-1/2 hour
  • Fold in rest of ingredients and refrigerate till firm
I laughed at my husband's remark when he saw this bowl  "Wow, I have not had a salad like this in decades."  

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