Curious Bites

Vintage Jell-O Recipe Books From The 1930s

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Vintage Jell-O Recipe Books From The 1930s
Photo Etsy

With jello shots being at the height of their popularity, we were inspired to take a look back at the American brand that started it all: Jell-O

Known as America's most famous dessert, Jell-O was invented in 1897 and was originally sold in four flavors: strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon. Its ease of preparation, texture and affordability made it very popular among housewives.

In 1903, the company launched the first of many recipe books that would follow. Jello-O executives created an agressive advertising campaign unknown before this time. Their marketing strategy included the recruitment of famous illustrators like Lucille Paterson Marsh and Norman Rockwell.

The 1930s brought a few changes to Jell-O. For starters, the company introduced its lime flavor and discontinued its chocolate variety. The company adapted to the Great Depression by advertising 'thrifty' recipes for sweet and savory dishes. Here is a roundup of the Jell-O recipe books of that era:

The New Jell-O Book of Surprises was published in 1930. The book included a variety of recipes for desserts and and salads.

The Greater Jell-O cookbook was published in 1931 and highlighted the company's six fruit flavors at the time: strawberry, orange, raspberry, lemon, cherry and lime.


In 1932, Jello-O introduced its new concept: gelatin you could make without boiling water. The New Jell-O cookbook featured 48 tasty recipes you could make with warm water instead. 

This 1937 Jello-O recipe book featured cartoons of comedian Jack Benny and his wife Mary Livingston, known collectively as Jack & Mary.

All images courtsey of Etsy

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