Now for the question: could lemon Jello and even-better-homemade pimento cheese taste good? Could I put it in a pretty mold and everyone be amazed?
The event drew 200 spectators and 27 entries, plus one "meltdown," reports Michelle Zata, one of the organizers. Grand prize went to Shelly Sabel, for her creation, "Aspic Ascension — Tastes Like Heaven." Her concoction featured a church altar made of pickles and olives and a gelatinous statue of the Virgin Mary.
Art with a dash of blasphemy — there's the perfect recipe for East Coast elitism. Indeed, the judges and contestants were largely drawn from New York's design and artisan circles.
Still, Sabel's victory was indebted to tradition.
A New York lighting designer, she said she was inspired to enter the competition by her grandfather's recent death. Sorting through her grandparents' attic in Houston, what did she find?
"An old recipe book put out by the Knox Gelatin company," said Sabel. "My grandmother's."
While many spectators applauded Sabel's creativity and craftsmanship, none said her mold reminded them of one that sat on their family's dining-room table. She can understand that mixed reception, noting: "Mine wasn't the kind of thing that inspires nostalgia."
One of the contestants has a blog called 'The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn' with pics of her creations - some of the really fantastic ones are on Flickr here, here, and here.
I just noticed that she made one of my favorite jello recipes of all time - Strawberry Pretzel Salad! Here's a pic of mine from a few years ago:
Here's the recipe - I'll try to fix those image links from 2006. When I made the migration to the new, no-FTP support Blogger, they got broken.
One last Jello thing! Liz Hickok made this cityscape of San Francisco: