The Great Jell-O War of 2010

When I was a kid, my mom always made the same green Jell-O salad for Thanksgiving dinner and other special occasions. It was the same Jell-O salad that her mother had made before her. Oh, how I loved it! Besides pumpkin pie, it was my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast, and I looked forward to it all day.

Naturally, I have perpetuated the tradition. I make the same recipe (sans walnuts) (I never did like the walnuts) for Thanksgiving dinner, Easter dinner, and any other time an occasion might call for it. Just like their mother, my kids love it and get very excited when they know it’s on the menu.

However, my husband hates it. And so does pretty much his entire family.

Once, when we were newly married, we were assigned to bring a Jell-O Salad to some family dinner. So I made the one I like best (besides, it’s the only one I know how to make!) and nobody touched it. Not one person. Well, except me, of course.

And yet the icky red concoction made with whipped cream and walnuts was devoured. That’s the Jell-O salad that my husband looks forward to at holidays.  But, to each his own, I say, and I’ll stick with mine, thankyouverymuch.  So I make it for every holiday, and he never eats it.  But, I don’t mind—more for me, right?

Well, this Easter, my husband insisted on  making HIS Jell-O salad. I agreed, supposing that it was about time he did. Unfortunately for him, we were also invited to an Easter celebration on Saturday afternoon and I was assigned to bring—you guessed it—Jell-O salad. So, I made mine, too.

On Sunday at our own Easter dinner, my husband set out his Jell-O salad, and I put out the leftovers of mine. The kids completely shunned his, poor guy. Finally, he asked them straight out which one they liked better. Our youngest was very honest with her father and said “I like the green one!  The red one is yucky!” while the other two were more diplomatic and swore that they liked them both exactly the same.

It’s just that their plates told a different story.

Sorry, Honey. But, hey! More for you, right?


Want to make it for yourself?

My Grandma’s Jell-O Salad Recipe

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That sounds delicious! I'll definitely have to try it.


sounds yummy to me 🙂


Is it really only a Mormon thing? I think Jell-O salad still thrives in the Bible Belt too. Maybe it's a Conservative Christian thing. The untold 11th commandment. And your Jell-o recipe?? Looks awesome, now I want to make it!


I love how traditions carry on.

The recipe looks good. I might just have to try it.

L.T. Elliot

=D My grandmother makes a killer jello salad pretty similar to yours. Glad to hear you won the war. 😉

Loralee and the gang...

That sounds like the Jello salad that my grandma used to make. Thanks for including it here. And, funny story, btw. The empty pan does tell the whole truth!

Jenny P.

My favorite snack all through this pregnancy has been the little cups of jello with fruit inside… black cherry, lime with pineapple, orange with mandarin orange… YUM!

Kristina P.

Anything with marshmallows must be good.

Annette Lyon

What Kristina said–only substitute "marshmallows" with "cream cheese."


hey! we both posted a jello salad recipe today! :o)

That Girl

Sorry. I'm all about red Jell-O salad. With candied pretzels and cream cheese.

I love being a Mormon.


Mmmm I haven't tried that one yet. But now that I have the recipe I will! I love your new blog banner. I need lessons on how to create them.


To be honest, I have yet to taste any Jell-O salad. Just never had any opportunity yet. But boy, what a family war to have! How fun!


That's great! I love it when men get in the kitchen. Gotta say though, I'm a red jello person. Love your girl's pics!
Becky Hibbert Barnett


Thanks for the recipe! My grandma made it, too, only I think hers had cottage cheese in it, which sounds very gross, so most likely it was unmelted cream cheese? I don't know but I liked it. No walnuts, either. I'll have to make this. Your dear husband must've eaten lots of his tasty red jell-o salad. I bet he was so glad! 🙂 (congrats on winning the war)


Anything with cream cheese and marshmallows has GOT to be the best!! I think I will have to try this recipe!!

Braden Bell

Almost the same story. My wife has that same recipe. I was converted to it, but she took it to my family's house and no one would touch it. Very sad. Happily our marriage was secure.

This is a funny article looking at Mormon/Utah food from an anthropological perspective


I actually usually hate jello salad….I guess I'm an anomaly. 🙂 I love this post, though! We have this sort of issue (kind of a non-issue, really) with other foods we make. Spaghetti. That's a huge one.


Me and a friend were just talking jello yesterday! And I have my favorite kind as well. Lucky for me, Splenda likes it. Or at least he eats it and tells me he does


Alas, Tony detests Jell-O. I grew up on Jell-O salads too, but my kids I don't think have ever really experienced it. If we are at a party and Tony sees it he makes a big deal of how gross it is, so I think my kids must think it's poison or something. 🙂 Your recipe sounds great and like the one my Grandma used to make as well.


Ah, Jello salad. I think it is hilarious that family functions generally have at least four of these. I am not a jello fan, so I generally stay away from all of it, but it is hilarious that it has become such a mormon food dish, isn't it?


Yes jello one of the known mormon dishes. Sounds like a yummy recipe.

Rachel Sue

I was worried the recipe included carrots. And raisins.

My mom has that recipe.

Not kidding.


Well, I'm not Mormon, but I did live in the Midwest for a long time, so I understand the phenomenon. Personally I can't abide stuff floating in Jell-O (I'm very sensitive to texture), but I do have a deep and abiding love for Jell-O on its own. And I must say that the cream cheese intrigues me—I'm a firm believer that cream cheese makes everything wonderful.

Though my fascination with Jell-O may be morbid (hence the most recent broadside in my series), if I'm ever at a party with your salad recipe in attendance, I promise to try it!


My grandma actually used to make Tunafish Jell-O. That I couldn't ever bring myself to sample!


I have never liked jello. But my kids love and adore it, just plain. No Cool Whip, nothing.


I just have to laugh here. This is so perfect. Josh and I are hanging out with two other couples Wed night and we are in charge of bringing something that resembles the green, gooey ghost that hides in the library and I've been looking for a green jello salad ever since! Can't wait to try it out! 😀


Did we really not even touch your green jell-o salad. Because I actually really like that kind. In fact, maybe I'll take it to the next gathering & see if people still snub it.