Making jell-o

There are two things in life I’ve always sucked at despite some very sincere attempts to learn: cooking and dancing.  It came to light last year that I didn’t even know how to make jell-o.  For my co-workers, this has been a well for chortling at my expense that never runs dry.

But no more!  Michaelyn has achieved the impossible and taught me how to make jell-o.  I’m now a chef.

We put jell-o in fruit and it’s delicious.  Today is going to be awesome.  :)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • tynk

    YAY! Now that you have mastered jell-o, the next logical step is to make a soufle.

  • Mike Brownstein

    Stir Fry is super easy, and you can get creative.

  • MAtheist

    Now if you could just learn to dance …

  • Improbable Joe

    The next thing you should do is learn to brine, roast, and carve a chicken. Seriously, that it Step #1 in Improbable Joe’s Increasingly Unlikely Online Cooking Course.

    • R Johnston

      Brining a chicken is the easiest thing in the world. Just buy a kosher chicken, then don’t overcook it.

      • Improbable Joe

        That’s my point… and if you cook a brined bird in a roasting bag, it is even harder to overcook. Then you learn to strip the meat off the carcass, and use the leftovers for chicken salad, chicken soup, chicken stew… and now you can cook 4 things. And really, once you can make chicken soup you can make other soups too. Once you make chicken stew pretty well, you can sort of make a ton of other stews as well. Learn meatloaf, plus a white sauce and a red sauce, and you’re a home cooking master.

        • John Morales

          Learn meatloaf, plus a white sauce and a red sauce, and you’re a home cooking master.

          Your standard for mastery is pretty low.

          • Improbable Joe

            Really? You’d be surprised how much really good cooking is based on the proper application of basic techniques. Once you understand the basics, you can translate them into more complex recipes with little real effort.

  • otocump

    Yes…yeeeeesssss…once you get a taste you’ll be well on your way to joining the dark side….good. Just as I planned.

    Also…Slow Cookers make regular people look like master chefs with soooo little effort. And if you can get your hands on some bison roast at the same time? *drools*

    Well done JT.

  • Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt

    Nice job, JT! Jell-o is the first step towards making
    Passion Fruit Mousse. And you really, really want to make it. It’s absolutely delicious. And actually quite simple.

    Start watching Alton Brown – lots of free episodes are available on the interwebs. Cooking gets really fun once you learn enough technique and some of the physics/chemistry background to improvise.

  • Phledge

    I second the call to watch Alton Brown. Once you understand the basic scientific principles, you can go all sorts of crazy with old recipes that never did taste right. :)

    • leftwingfox

      Oh man, so many AB/Good Eats recipes have become standards for me:

      Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole
      French Onion Soup
      “A Chuck for Chuck” pot roast (so good!)
      Honey-garlic braised back ribs.
      Home-ground burgers in the food processor
      Silken tofu smoothie
      Chocolate silken tofu pie
      Brined Turkey and gravy
      Blueberry Muffins
      Slow-cooker oatmeal (his recipe needs a little tweaking for a bigger slow-cooker)
      Steel-Cut oats.

      The first two I still have in my fridge for leftovers.

    • ischemgeek

      ^ This. Baking – and, to a slightly lesser extent, stove-top cooking – is just kitchen chemistry. Learn how to do stuff in the same order and the same way every time, and presto! You can bake or cook. You might never be a chef, but you’ll produce edible food.

      Assuming you don’t forget stuff in the oven and then nearly gas yourself with the smoke. ***says the person wastes at least one meal a month this way – ADHD and baking don’t mix well***

      • Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt

        The oven timer is your friend. I have a large collection of beeping things that I set whenever I’m cooking anything, even if it’s just to remember to stir the pot.

        • ischemgeek

          I set it, but sometimes I hyperfocus, and then unless someone shakes my shoulder or something, I don’t hear anything outside of what I’m focusing on.

          When unmedicated, my attention is like a lightswitch: When it’s on, it’s so on that I can forget to eat or sleep for days. When it’s off, it’s so off that my attention span is about 5 minutes. Meds lengthen my attention span when it’s off, and cut the spells of hyperfocus to about a quarter of the frequency and duration of what they used to be, but I still hyperfocus on occasion. Fortunately, asthma attacks are something that’ll knock me out of my focus, otherwise I might’ve burned down the place a couple times back when I was living alone. Now I live with people who know my oddities and will make sure I know when my timer goes off.

          I’m probably telling someone who knows this already, but ADHD is less a complete lack of attention and more a lack of attention regulation. So I can focus on stuff… buuuut I can’t decide when I’ll focus or what I’ll focus on.

  • christophburschka

    Congratulations on your new skill!

    I can’t even count the number of eggs I wasted learning to fry.

  • John Morales


    We put jell-o in fruit and it’s delicious.

    Most people put fruit in the gelatin, not gelatin in the fruit.

    It’s certainly not a technique with which I’m familiar.

  • Bill

    I, too, have a problem with dancing (social dancing, not the performing art).

    In my case, the problem is that I’m supposed to push women around and expect them to like it. I just can’t get my mind around that.

    • otocump

      I have that exact problem as well. I just don’t get it. It brings me no pleasure, and while I understand how some forms of dance bring others pleasure, most feel…well exactly how you describe it.

  • McNihil

    As much as I like puking rainbows all over these personal posts – they show that you’re filling your life with fun and happiness and love and that’s awesome – I do wish there were a few more updates on the secular issues. What happened with the Osteens handing out the wife’s book and reading from it at a school? Have they been sued yet? And has there been any word from the guy you’re having the blogalog with?