NPR

Jell-O Has Delighted Many American Households. But For One Family, It Was A Curse

The colorful, molded gelatin dessert was anything but a wonderland for the women of Allie Rowbottom's family.
"Jell-O Girls," by Allie Rowbottom. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Jell-O was a staple of American households for decades and made a fortune for author Allie Rowbottom‘s family. But her family was also haunted by alcoholism, suicide and cancer.

Rowbottom (@allierowbottom) writes about that duality in “Jell-O Girls: A Family History,” and joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to talk about her memoir.

Book Excerpt: ‘Jell-O Girls’

by Allie Rowbottom

In the early 1960s, Jell-O’s age-old selling point as a national beacon of stability, a staple of nuclear-family dinner tables and affordable “fancy” dishes, flickered and surged dramatically. This wasn’t success: this was the gasp of a flame preparing to die out. The country was in flux, teetering on

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Best Albums Of 2019 (So Far)
We asked our panel of public radio writers one question: What is your favorite album of 2019 so far? There were so many ways to answer.
NPR4 min readPolitics
Analysis: The Politics Of National Humiliation In The Trump-Xi Meeting
Under the Communist Party's ideological reeducation of China's population, humiliation by foreign powers forms an emotional underpinning of the country's national identity.
NPR5 min readSociety
They Thought This HIV Strategy Couldn't Work. But It Did
An unprecedented five-year study aimed to find out whether the treatments to stop the spread of HIV in the West would work in sub-Saharan Africa.