Friday, 29 November 2013

Jell-o, an American Art Form

Anyone who's ever entertained or been entertained ins small town America has come across the thriving native art form - Jell-o creativity! A packet of gelatine can unleash the creative demon in the most unliberated suburban Mom. Pink, green, blue, purple, orange and sulphur yellow. Objects formed in strange moulds, sometime with even stranger moulds embedded within. The wackier the flavour combination, the better - Heston Blumenthal has noithing on this uncelebrity sisterhood.  HERE is an article about these unsung glories of the American kitchen. Europeans have no idea what they're missing !

Mainstrean creativity favours male dominated public genres, while women are relegated to the background. Literally, the kitchen. Obviously real equality would be better, but women made do with what they could.  Far from being entirely cowed women created their own sphere. Rozsika Parker's seminal book The Subversive Stitch : Embroidery and the Making of The Feminine first published in the early 1980's has now been reissued in a new edition. Needlework gave women an outlet when they had few others. When Ellen Orford sings "Embroidery in Childhood" in Peter Grimes, you realize how much her dreams, too, have been thwarted by society.

So celebrate the fine art of American jell-o salads and desserts - the ephemeral creations of decades of anonymous women doing what they could to brighten their lives and please those around them. Someone should document their wit and humour - families all round must have photos of some forgotten feast or clippings from magazines that taught "home craft".

Courtesy of a friend, a tribute to the Art of Jell-o by William Bolcom

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