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Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

What’s more fun than Jell-O?’

KU class explores impact of classic American dessert

November 20, 2006

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Robert Elder, left, and Jessica Finnearty use a colorful tube of Jell-O to symbolize different ages of rock layers during a biostratigraphy lesson during the Jell-O Nation event Sunday at the Kansas University Natural History Museum, put on by KU graduate students. Biostratigraphy is the idea of using fossils to determine the age of rock layers.

Robert Elder, left, and Jessica Finnearty use a colorful tube of Jell-O to symbolize different ages of rock layers during a biostratigraphy lesson during the Jell-O Nation event Sunday at the Kansas University Natural History Museum, put on by KU graduate students. Biostratigraphy is the idea of using fossils to determine the age of rock layers.

Long after the Jell-O molds had set and the students brought the long-lost recipes back to life, it became clear why some flavors never worked in the first place.

"With some, it's not so mysterious," Kansas University student Samantha Harper said, looking down at the rather disliked apple Jell-O flavor.

Harper and the rest of her class spent Sunday trying to explain the history of, and science behind, gelatin and Jell-O products at the KU Natural History Museum.

Spread throughout two floors of the museum, students in the public education class from the museum studies graduate program displayed everything from old television shows sponsored by Jell-O to the samples of discontinued Jell-O flavors sitting in front of Harper and her classmates.

"We went through a lot of different ideas, but we wanted something the kids would enjoy," graduate student Martina Smith said. "What's more fun than Jell-O?"

McKenzie Blaylock, 7, tries out her new Jell-O creation with her friend Garrett Hockersmith, 4, in the jelloangelo room of the Jell-O Nation at the Kansas University Natural History Museum Sunday afternoon. Once a Jell-O color was created, the creator could name it. The Museum Studies Program staged the event, which was open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

McKenzie Blaylock, 7, tries out her new Jell-O creation with her friend Garrett Hockersmith, 4, in the jelloangelo room of the Jell-O Nation at the Kansas University Natural History Museum Sunday afternoon. Once a Jell-O color was created, the creator could name it. The Museum Studies Program staged the event, which was open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Well : how about Jell-O flavors that no longer exist - like cola and pineapple-grapefruit?

The flavors were not, of course, the original recipes. Harper said Jell-O - or, more likely Kraft Foods, its parent company - keeps those a secret in case it ever wants to give former flavors another shot.

Instead, the KU students mixed plain, flavorless gelatin with what they thought would produce the flavors - such as apple juice for the "apple" flavor.

People signed their name under which flavor they liked the best. Late in the day, "apple" had only a handful of signatures.

In all, the class project took about a month and a half to complete, and about 75 people - including many children - toured the Jell-O exhibits and interactive stations Sunday.

Comments

sublime 7 years, 4 months ago

Jello shots? forget vodka. Try making your jello shots with Malibu coconut rum. The pineapple rum is good too.The black cherry and the blue berry jello are the best.

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Poon 7 years, 5 months ago

Amen right_thinker. Kinda like that Far Side cartoon where the Native American gentleman holds up something that looks like a part of an intestine and says something like (paraphrasing) we don't know what this is, but it is the only part of the buffalo that we don't use.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 5 months ago

I think mans ingenuity at utilizing every last cell of an animal is great. Why waste?

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Poon 7 years, 5 months ago

Makeup is made of skeleton/animal parts??? Wow, that is the last time that I am going to eat makeup.

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Poon 7 years, 5 months ago

It was pretty clear to me that the students were using Jell-O to represent a variety of interesting subjects. They were definitely not learning about Jell-o only. You know, that Cola-Jello was pretty yummy.

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Emily Hadley 7 years, 5 months ago

quoted: Furthermore, I thought gelatin had become a harmless, vegetable-derived thing since the 50s....but......I guess I'm wrong? __

I thought the same thing when I was a kid!! I thought Jell-O must be made from something vegetarian, because, well, because it's purple and red and green and tastes like fruit! I didn't like meat, but my mom still made lots of jell-o & never said anything.

Even after learning about it, I associated animal gelatin with the middle ages, women wearing sheep fat as makeup and horse-drawn carts going door to door to buy bones for the rendering plant.

Nope. We are just still living in a medieval world when it comes to animal parts in our soap, makeup, clothing and food. And Jell-O is still made out of the stuff that makes cows, pigs, and chickens' joints and skin stretchy. It just all travels in 18-wheelers that we never see inside of.

So many kids question eating meat, I think Jell-O is one of the things that forces us to accept animal products as we reach adulthood.

There are vegetarian gelling agents, but if it says gelatin, it is animal tissue. Veggie gelatins identify the gelling agent, like tapioca starch or agar-agar.

(I am surprised that this came from the same person who called jumped to call me an eco-nazi for my distaste for pushing gelatin on ignorant kids, but hey--we all have to have something to pique our curiosity against marketing that wants to undercut our standards.)

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Esq2eB 7 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they could devise a way to make Jell-o out of roadkill deer.

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jugglingmuse 7 years, 5 months ago

While all this is truly fascinating, can we look at the major point here? That point being that a group of Museum Studies graduate students at KU put together a fun and very educational program (for their Public Education class), to teach children and adults alike something they may not have known before; be it about Jell-O or something else! This program was not intended to offend anyone, and had you attended the program you would know that. Maybe minds should not be closed on a topic before understanding them, eh?

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Althea Schnacke 7 years, 5 months ago

" Baby harp seal" was one of the discontinued flavors

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innocuous_posts 7 years, 5 months ago

Can they make jello from harp seals?

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OrangeCat5 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually the class is museum studies Public Education (as stated in the article) and the Jell-O project was just a part of the class as a whole. I thought it was all pretty clever and fun.

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

It just had that ring, Emily. Apologies. I didn't think such a simple (and short!) article needed any sort of political treatment. But whatever, it's no big deal. Perhaps "eco-nazi" was a bit harsh!

For some reason I really liked the grape jello with cut-up pears in it. At least I think that's what it was.

Furthermore, I thought gelatin had become a harmless, vegetable-derived thing since the 50s....but......I guess I'm wrong?

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Emily Hadley 7 years, 5 months ago

Pardon me for posting a response here:

Eco-nazi? Huh?

I am not a fan of PETA.

I am just not a fan of barftastic boiled slaughterhouse scraps, and I feel like I was misled as a TV kid to think it was something much more innocent.

I was really just in it for those little mandarin oranges my mom would add.

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scenebooster 7 years, 5 months ago

Yep, you got me all worked up with your hypocritical B.S.

Keep going!

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

Hey Josh: I love getting under your skin! You're what keeps me coming back to ljworld.com

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trinity 7 years, 5 months ago

i know what's more fun than jell-o; jell-o SHOTS! ;)

ok kids, play nice now! although i gotta say-shelby, i like your style! :)

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scenebooster 7 years, 5 months ago

Ha ha. I'm cool with who I am. You are obviously not, what with the making fun of dead women and all (and just what is it that you do for a living?).

You're a hypocrite. Your posts show this. Would you like to get together sometime and talk about it?

Oh, I forgot: Hiding behind that keyboard...

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

(just taking a cue from Mr. Ad Hominem himself...)

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

"fishing" with plainly artificial bait, I might add...

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

Ouch, coming from a guy who's been fishing for any sort of musical career for years now, being called a loser doesn't seem to have the sting you might have intended.

I have an idea, Josh, Mr. Fallacious Reasoning: why don't you disagree with what I said based on, oh, I dunno...what I said?

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scenebooster 7 years, 5 months ago

"yes, I'm willfully denigrating them."

Like you denigrated the dead woman in the trailer park?

Yet you get upset when Walmart shoppers get a little grief?

LOSER.

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couranna1 7 years, 5 months ago

A college class on Jello. What's next how the banana split america.?

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

Scenester Wannabe: Emily chose a light-hearted, silly, fun article to get all PETA. I think it's ridiculous, and felt that somebody should point out to her and her type that perhaps something like, i dunno, tuna fishing or the mistreatment of hissing cockroaches might be more worth her time and effort. And if PETA-following meat-eater-antagonists are a whole class of people, yes, I'm willfully denigrating them.

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Redzilla 7 years, 5 months ago

You don't have to be a vegetarian to find Jell-O barftastic.

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scenebooster 7 years, 5 months ago

Ohh, eco-nazi! How "in-your-face" Shelby!

You're not denigrating a whole class of people here, are you?

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Shelby 7 years, 5 months ago

Emily, there are more poignant ecoNazi fights worth fighting.

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Emily Hadley 7 years, 5 months ago

What's more fun than Jell-O? Anything cruelty-free! There are lots of gelling agents and products out there that don't come from suffering animals, and will guarantee a more fun world for animals and kids alike.

As VegCooking.com says: It's probably no coincidence that gelatin rhymes with skeleton ... animal bones, skin, hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage all boiled together into a goo that's added to all kinds of candy and baked goods.

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