We make fun of the Jell-O salad fad of the 20th century because 1. we think of Jell-O as a sweet treat or dessert, and 2. we can’t imagine people actually liking something that’s so processed and artificial. But cooks who jumped on Jell-O when it was first produced didn’t see it that way. It was an affordable way to recreate the earlier, labor intensive aspic dishes that most people had never experienced. And it was natural, up to a point. Aspic, and their vegan alternatives pectin and agar, are natural products even if they were hard to get and weren’t used that much before Jell-O came along.
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Then after World War II, we got refrigerators and housewives, which led to ridiculously creative Jell-O recipes. Jell-O helped out by developing celery and tomato flavored gelatin. But the madness finally came to an end. You still see Jell-O salads at potlucks occasionally, but they rarely contain eggs, shrimp, or canned veggies anymore. -via Mental Floss