Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On gelatin

We sometimes get it in our heads that a certain once loved food is no longer fit for consumption.  Perhaps reminding us of finicky childish palettes that we want to appear to have outgrown, perhaps it falls too much under the rubric of "processed," a most vague word indeed, and as we all know now, we are supposed to embrace also-vague-descriptor of "natural." Perhaps it we truly devoured too much of it that we no longer can stomach the thought of eating it.  Perhaps we associate it with a bout of sickness.  Sometimes, sadly, our taste buds truly no longer welcome the taste. But I suspect this happens less often than the former scenarios.

I think jello fell under the first reason for me, I am ashamed to admit.  A food that was once beloved, relished for its fun shapes and molds, an edible expression of the love of my mom (and Grammy!), a festive treat to be fit and cast into any possible celebration. And I abandoned it under the guise of being too grown-up for it.

But eventually our cold hearts thaw.  A gap forms in the landscape of our food palates.  We acknowledge that we are missing out on one of life's precious gifts.

And so I found my way back to the patient, waiting, loving embrace of fruity gelatin.  Here I basically turned a fruit smoothie - with mangoes, strawberries, citrus, and either a banana or another mango, sweetened with just a bit of agave  - into a delight of my childhood.  it may have taken awhile to return, but I'm now here to stay.  A fact that pleases Max and Molly.

1 mango
1 cup strawberries
juice from 1 tangerine
juice from 2 small meyer lemons
1 large banana or second mango
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 packet unflavored gelatin

Remove flesh from mango and hull strawberries.  Blend the fruit and juices together with an immersion blender. Then bring to a gentle boil in small pot.

In medium bowl, sprinkle 1/2 cup cold water with a packet of unflavored gelatin.  set aside for 5 minutes.  Pour fruit mixture over.  Stir to dissolve.  Pour into 8x8 baking dish and refrigerate.  Cut into squares or get fancy with some cookie cutters!

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