Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Artsy Jell-O War 2009!

 by Danielle Maestretti

Tags: Arts, food art, dessert, Jell-O, Giant Robot, Eric Nakamura, Danielle Maestretti,

A jiggly observation from Giant Robot: “Asian Jell-O-style desserts aren’t as sweet, but are more hardcore than their colorful and kidcentric Western counterparts.”

Bundted Agar

So, naturally, one of our favorite super-hip arts magazines had to stage the coolest Asian Jell-O-making competition ever: a casual, creative affair at the Music Friends studio, not far from Santa Cruz, California. Who knew gelatinous desserts could be so artsy?

Wood Grain Jell-O

The turnout was impressive and the competition was intense. Some were traditional (red bean and coconut agar in lotus form) and others were new takes on classic forms (pear agar layered with almond jello in a Bundt cake form). There were also brand-new styles, including a Marc Rothko-inspired orange and apple juice sculpture and a wood grain panel made of agar.

Giant Robot Jell-O Logo

The article isn't available online, but Giant Robot publisher and co-editor Eric Nakamura was kind enough to send us these droolworthy photos. Pictured, from top to bottom: Elaine Chen's layered project with lychee, coconut, and pear flavorings; a gelatin slab o' wood designed by Ken Mori, who used coffee to fill in the wood grain; and Wing Ko's agar sculpture of the Giant Robot logo, which was stood up to serve as the event's centerpiece. If you pick up the print edition, you'll be treated to a vast spread of all the competitors' entries—a table loaded with jiggly desserts of all colors, shapes, and flavors, including a trendy pomegranate-and-pear combo—and a fun history of the form in Asian and Asian-American culture.

Source: Giant Robot

Photos courtesy of Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong.