Utah not only has an official snack food but an official brand of snack food. Keep in mind that the actual bill simply recognizes this brand of snack as a favorite in the great state of Utah. The wordy resolution (below) makes you wonder what passes for pressing matters in state legislatures, but the official favorite snack food of Utah is Jell-O brand gelatin.
There are many things a state can be recognized for, but one thing that seems to be important to the Utah state legislature is that the state be recognized for their consumption of large amounts of Jell-O. When General Foods released its per capita sales figures in 1997, Salt Lake City, Utah, had been revealed as the nation’s largest per capita consumer of Jell-O. That is not something to be taken lightly!
It is true that folks in Utah eat a lot of Jell-0, but that doesn’t really make them different from most other folks. It is also true that they do some fairly unusual things with their “favorite” snack. We’ve all had to contend with that favorite potluck treat of green jello (or some other color) spiked with pears, bananas, and perhaps, green grapes. But the Mormons in Utah have brought it up a notch. A favorite Jell-O dish at Mormon gatherings is green Jell-O with miniature marshmallows on top and mixed with grated carrots or cottage cheese and pineapple.
Just why Mormons are stereotyped as being Jell-O fanatics probably has little to do with Mormons actually consuming more Jell-O, let alone the atrocious sounding dish described above. Still, according to at least one Mormon person I know, it is quite true that Mormon’s eat more than their “fair share” of Jello.
But, in 1999, tragedy ensued. It seems that Salt Lake City, the champ of Jell-O consumption, got knocked out by Des Moines, Iowa! It was a front-page feature in the Salt Lake. “Take Back the Title” yelled the people. Eat more Jell-O!
The state legislature decided the time was right for decisive action, and passed a resolution recognizing Jell-O brand gelatin as the official favorite snack of Utah, on January 31, 2001. Bill Cosby, Jell-O’s long-time celebrity spokesperson, even showed up to help them commemorate the occasion, passing out autographed boxes of Jell-O and, of course, making jokes, including “Somebody must have put caffeine in your Jell-O.”
Much credit for the resolution was the petition brought by Brigham Young University students, with almost 15,000 signatures urging that Jell-O be made the state’s official snack.
In 2002, during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, a favorite souvenir was a little pin shaped like a bowl of green Jell-O, with the Olympic emblem emblazoned on it, together with the words Salt Lake 2002 and, at the bottom, “Official Snack of Utah.”
Utah State Resolution Urging JELL-O Recognition
Leonard M. Blackham introduced this legislation in 2001, and it was passed by a margin of two votes.
This Senate resolution of the Legislature recognizes Jell-O® brand gelatin as a favorite snack of Utah.
Be it resolved by the Senate of the state of Utah:
WHEREAS, Jell-O® brand gelatin was introduced to the country in 1897, just one year after Utah was admitted to the Union as the 45th state;
WHEREAS, Utah has been the number one per capita consumer of Jell-O® brand gelatin for many years;
WHEREAS, Jell-O® is representative of good family fun, which Utah is known for throughout the world;
WHEREAS, Salt Lake Magazine proclaimed Utah “the Jell-O® State” in a cover story in 1996;
WHEREAS, Jell-O® brand gelatin recipes, which often include bananas, apples, marshmallows, pretzels, carrots, and grapes, are a traditional favorite at family, church, and community dinners throughout the Beehive State;
WHEREAS, in 1997, Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley drew a week-long series of political cartoons showcasing Jell-O® in Utah in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Jell-O®;
WEREAS, a 2002 Winter Olympic pin was designed that featured a bowl of green gelatin and has become a valuable collector’s item;
WHEREAS, when Des Moines, Iowa edged out Salt Lake City as the capitol of Jell-O® gelatin consumption in 1999, it sparked front page stories in Salt Lake City’s newspapers;
WHEREAS, Utahns rallied to “Take Back the Title” as Chef Scott Blackerby hosted a recipe contest in the Hotel Monaco’s Bambara Restaurant and Pat Bagley ran a cartoon persuading Utahns to purchase more Jell-O® gelatin;
WHEREAS, throughout 2000, Brigham Young University students campaigned to make Utah’s love of Jell-O® official at festivals and fairs throughout Utah;
WHEREAS, more than 14,000 signatures have been collected from the people of Utah in support of the campaign to select Jell-O® as the Official Snack of Utah; and
WHEREAS, due to these and many other efforts, Salt Lake City has now successfully recaptured the title:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate of the state of Utah recognize Jell-O® as a favorite snack food of Utah.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to Kraft Foods, Inc.
By the way, have you wondered whatever happened to Jell-O Pudding Pops?