I hate to be the bearer of bad news, especially when it comes to what we should or shouldn’t eat. So many of our favorite foods are simply not good for us. So many of the things we love to stuff in our mouths have no nutritional value at all. And for some of us, certain foods we like are difficult to eat as well.
Take Jello. Please. Today,for instance, my lunch included a rather healthy bowl full of that unhealthy concoction, artificially colored red and jiggling in the bowl. The stuff is always jiggling. I’m never sure if that is a benign attribute meant to amuse us and entice us to swallow large quantities of the stuff, or if all that shaking is a warning sign for the careless eater to beware of the danger that awaits once he dips a spoon into the quivering mass.
I decided at that time during my lunch to find out if Jello (Jello is the brand name we are all familiar with. Gelatin is what Jello is) was friend or foe, and if I should eat the helping of questionable foodstuff sitting in its bowl awaiting my decision. I figured a bit of easy research was all it would take. So I started by reading the ingredient list on the box. Once I knew what that innocent looking little red box contained, I swore on my All American Cookbook that if I ever encountered any color or flavor of that disgusting, vile, alien substance anywhere near my dining table, I would attack it immediately, smiting it with my heaviest wooden spoon, then flinging it out the window before it could remove the paint from the walls.
It appears that Jello, or gelatin in the vernacular, is made from collagen, a fibrous protein that is present in all of us in different amounts. Collagen isn’t bad stuff. It’s what we humans do to it after we’ve harvested it from those cows and pigs we see lying around the barnyard. Those cows and pigs and their bones and hides and connective tissues are ripped from the animals and dried out and eventually ground into a powder that is then mixed with all kinds of other shit that is swept off the floor, put into pretty boxes of red, orange, green and passed off to us, the unknowing, trusting consumer as a delicious special treat for all good little boys and girls.
I ask you, could you imagine eating that detritus from the other side of the River Styx if you knew its origins? Pigskin is the most commonly used material to make gelatin. PIGSKIN! Can you imagine willingly ingesting PIGSKIN and then asking for seconds?
I think we can all agree that even though it might taste good, that it might look all bright and jiggly, and that it is a sort of miracle that it was ever invented, its nutritional value is nil, and its usefulness as an edible material is suspect. From now on, Jello is a four letter word with an O on the end.
Just one more thing about Jello that makes all the more nasty and disgusting to certain people. My experience says that all that jiggling and shaking it is actually an evil ingredient inserted into each package of Jello just to make me and other wonderful people who have Parkinson Disease look silly when we try to maintain our dignity while trying to eat the elusive glob of slime. Try eating a spoonful of quivering, slippery gelatin one time while your hands are shaking, your arms are fighting off the tremors that choose that exact moment to appear, and your head is bobbing like Stevie Wonder when he is in full concert rapture. It is nearly impossible to do. I know what it’s like when the slop keeps slipping off the spoon as you finally get it near enough to your mouth to give hope that you might really taste it this time. Then one tremor too many sends it sliding down, down, down, leaving a sticky trail of red or orange or green from your once full spoon to the floor. Try being dignified then, acting as if nothing unusual as happened.
So please join me in foregoing any more Jello purchasing or eating in solidarity with nutritious dining, healthy natural foods, and PD people everywhere. We can discuss what t do about the coffee dribbling down my chin some other time.