I Love the Gelatinous 70s

11 Aug

In the 70s we made everything with gelatin – fruit molds,  salmon mousse,  carrot “salads,” aspic. The lady I babysat for had me mix up Jello® and give it to her kids to drink in a glass, just like they were drinking Kool-Aid. Everyone said it had protein, and my mom told me it would make my nails grow. Did I know it was made of ground up cow hooves?  All I cared about was that it had very few calories and could be fashioned into low-calorie desserts. My favorite was made with coffee.

I first began drinking coffee at 14 because it was a calorie-free beverage. When I started smoking at 15, I discovered that coffee went extremely well with cigarettes. In 1971, my mom taught me how to make “Coffee Carvel” which consisted of various artificial powders whipped up with gelatin and ice cubes. If the stars were correctly aligned, the result would be a fluffy, smooth coffee pudding. More often than not, it would be coffee gelatin, topped with desert sand. But in either case, it was the equivalent of “a skim milk” on the diet we were on. It fed a lot of our addictions – coffee, artificial sweetener, dessert, getting a calorie-bargain (two quarts-worth of the stuff is about the same calories as small piece of chocolate). All we had to do was sprinkle it with nicotine and we could have survived on the stuff for life. “Coffee Carvel” had me flatulating through my entire sophomore year in high school, but I didn’t mind. I managed to lose 43 pounds that year.

I ate it so much that I know the recipe by heart. Here it is:

“Coffee Carvel”

1 packet non-flavored gelatin
½ cup hot water
1 teaspoon coffee powder
5 teaspoons skim milk powder
1 packet of artificial sweetener
6 ice cubes

Dissolve the gelatin completely in the hot water
Mix in coffee powder, skim milk powder, and artificial sweetener
In a blender, one by one, blend in ice cubes
Pour into 4 pudding cups and chill until set.

8 Responses to “I Love the Gelatinous 70s”

  1. Jane Sherman August 11, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    You have me laughing so hard my eyes are burning from the salty tears. The whole Weight Watchers thing is a riot. I can relate to what you’re saying.

  2. Maureen Tracy August 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Do you think you could somehow make a jello mold out of this? I could give the recipe to my mother-in-law to add to her jello mold repertoire (I had to google the spelling).


  3. bobbie krieger August 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Too funny and soo true…those of us living in the world of up more than a few lbs. and down just a few lbs. can more than relate…i can stil taste those special ww recipes mom “shared” with us…

  4. Gabi Coatsworth October 18, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    I clicked ‘Like’,but honestly, I think it sounds revolting…Could they get us a ‘ Wow’ button. More ambiguous….

  5. janice December 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    the coffee and cigarettes diet was my mainstay in college. Later, my Atlanta roommate enlightened me to the hot-weather version: Tab and cigarettes!

    • schmeightschmatchers December 6, 2011 at 1:12 am #

      Tab! That pink can! Now there’s a product you don’t hear much about these days

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