latter-day fixin’s!


I’d like to interrupt your usual blog broadcasting for a tidbit of culture many of you might have missed: yes, I’m talking about Mormon Jello Dessert.


While my family did not become actual Mormons, the rest of my 735 cousins did, and every few weeks we decide to experience the culture shock of leaving Hollywood and venturing into the San Gabriel Valley for a dose of Latter-Day Saints. My own relationship with the church is fraught with many contradictions and inner turmoil, but my family is terrific, and we always have a great time.

The meals, however, always teeter on the edge of bizarre, and nothing typifies this more than Mormon Jello Dessert. I was probably 15 before I noticed that this concoction was being served at every function. The dish is an ever-changing amalgamation of dark-colored jello that is land-mined with deeply incongruous fruit: you should not be surprised to find carrot cubes stuck in the gelatin, like trilobite fossils hung forever in rock. You might come across the thorny skin of a pineapple, the shaving of watermelon rind, or even globs of maraschino cherries. It’s not far from the jello dish the grandmother brings in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” you know, the one with Tender Vittles Cat Food in it.

The pan is refrigerated, and then topped off with a three-inch viscous layer of Dream Whip (powdered milk from the apocalycloset recommended). I warned Tessa about the dish before we got there, but she actually took a big helping and finished the whole thing! I began wondering who this chick “my wife” really was.


Although Republican by nature, Mormons are also strict survivalists, which made them a perfect audience for the Prius. They took turns driving, and the whole family was deeply impressed. For a group of people who keep two years’ worth of food stored in their homes, a car that gets 60 mpg would be perfect for the End Times. If Jesus ever shows up and all the gas pumps are rendered useless in the Rapture, at least we know the Prius will be the last car running.