When my family relocated to Utah from New Brunswick, New Jersey, in the summer of 1998, we were unaware of the local gelatin affinity. Shiny yellow and blue Jell-O salads sat in our fridge vibrating their friendly "welcome to the neighborhood." We discovered the strange, almost otherworldly suspensions of savory items—shredded carrots, peas, and cubed ham—in gifts of Jell-O molds. And I, just shy of my thirteenth birthday, entered a new semester of junior high and a new culinary terrain.
In some circles, it is a well-known and boast-worthy fact that Utah has historically consumed more Jell-O per capita than any other state in the nation. This jiggling, fruity dessert made from horse hooves and artificial flavoring holds a special wobbling place in the heart of every Utahan, native or adopted. The love of Jell-O resonates so deeply that in 2001, when Utah narrowly beat out Iowa in annual Jell-O consumption, state officials elected Jell-O the official state snack and named Bill Cosby an honorary Utah citizen.
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