After a difficult night of GI distress, I woke up and wished I had some Jello. Jello made by my mom. I’m a grandmother and still wish I had my mom, especially when I’m sick. Lacking the energy to get up to make Jello, I stayed in bed and read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Reading in the morning is the only good part of being sick.

Later, I shuffled out to the kitchen in my grape-purple fleece robe and slippers and scrounged around in the cupboards. Jello! I opened the box and poured the sugar mix in a pretty bowl. It took a few minutes for water the to boil. I waited and stared out the kitchen window.

When I poured the boiling water into the bowl, the warm orangeness took me immediately to my mother’s side in the kitchen at 1634 Cecile Street. I saw again her beautiful hands stirring gently, the spoon making tiny circles in the hot liquid. She was always careful to be sure all the gelatin dissolved. I felt again the softness of her arms and could smell her freshly powdered skin. I was probably in the way, but she never said so. She just quietly went about her work.

I think my mother believed Jello worked magic. Whenever we were sick, she let us pick the color and she would make us our own bowl of plain Jello. Coming from the West, she knew hundreds of ways to “dress up” Jello, most of which I didn’t like. I was a picky eater then.

Green Jello with canned pears. Orange Jello with mandarin oranges and bananas. Orange Jello with grated carrots and pineapple.  Red Jello with canned frozen raspberries. Grape Jello, lemon Jello and blackberry Jello, on occasion. For Thanksgiving, red Jello with cranberry sauce, celery, pecans, and crushed pineapple. Thankfully, she wasn’t too much into making the Jello with cream cheese or Jello with cottage cheese, but she did enjoy it when other people did. For a while, it was popular to add Coke, Sprite, or Pepsi to your Jello. That made it really special. Once I was even offered green Jello made into a mold with chicken salad ingredients – chicken, celery, eggs, even mayonnaise. Not my favorite.

By now, my bowl of plain orange Jello will be set and when I scoop it out of the bowl and it makes that slurping/sucking sound that only scooped Jello can make, I’ll smile and remember my mom. I’ll eat it slowly and let it dissolve in my mouth, knowing I’ll feel better soon.

8 thoughts on “Orange Jello

  1. Sweet memories. Someone brought orange jello with carrots and mandarin oranges to our house this week. The adults were laughing about it and one great nephew age 9 said, “You can evev put carrots in cake!”

  2. My mom passed away in the summer. I’ve been thinking about her a lot this week and your post has me thinking about the green tupperware bowl we always used for jello. We used to dress it up by making custard sauce! Plain jello with custard sauce is a delight.

  3. I was just thinking today about my mom making cinnamon toast for me when I was sick- cut in triangles and served on a special plate :). I love your jello post. So much loving memory. And we stand in the kitchen with you, in purple robe, stirring- you really bring us in. I adore the foray into all those old jello adventures. I recently resurrected one I like and my family laughed at me and then gobbled it up. Finally, that wonderful description of the act of eating jello!
    Pretty masterful writing, especially for a quick write as in this challenge.

  4. We missed you at school today! My New Year’s resolutions to to make one recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box per month in an effort to feel closer to her – I connected to your story today.

  5. I love so much about. You include so many mom details. Then all the jello recipes. Then you weave it all as you stir and wait for the jello to set. What a great structured piece. Thanks for sharing. For me – green jello with fruit and then at Christmas, “cut glass” jello (three different colors in a white saucelike mold. I should get my mom to make it again!!)

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