Sunday, November 17, 2013

Things not to do with Jello and Booze

I spend an unhealthy amount of time at the dollar store. If you're not a Los Angelino, you might not know what you're missing out on, but the 99 Cents Only store is truly amazing. The only trouble is that when things are a only a dollar, it's a lot easier to give in to temptation and buy something that you don't need at all. I've finally learned to resist the office supplies, but I still can't pass up the seasonal decor. I love seasonal decor.

So, in the weeks before Halloween I just tried by best not to buy anymore decorative Halloween crap. With my apartment already adorned with sparkly pumpkins and spooky kitsch, I actually did pretty well. 

But then I saw this brain mold. For a dollar. I knew what I had to do: A jello shot brain mold for the Halloween party. I patted myself on the back for my ingenuity and headed home with my $1 brain mold and my 3 for $1 raspberry jello.

I have made more jello shots in the past couple of months than I should probably admit. One part boiling water, one part ice cold vodka, let set over night. I felt pretty confident. But why stick to the plan when you can ad lib, right? Why stick to the plan when you have google?

I found this recipe online for a more authentic, pink opaque brain. Since I already had a can of fat-free evaporated milk in the house, I figured why not? So, using my 3 jello packets, 2 1/2 cups of boiling water, 2 1/2 cups of frozen vodka, and a slightly expired can of evaporated milk, I mixed, poured, and chilled. 

The next day I drove the jello, in its mold, out to Santa Monica for my friend's Halloween party. Yes, I realize that again to folks who don't live down here, going to a party in Santa Monica sounds very glamorous. But remember, I'm the girl who hangs out at the dollar store and I shows up to the party with a damn boozy jello brain. It wasn't glamorous. 

When I first turned the mold out, I was a little surprised to see that the milk had somehow sunken to the bottom, giving an odd layered look to the brain which was not at all what I was going for. It was also very flat, and unsettling wobbly. But, I decided to roll with it. At least maybe it would taste good?

But before anyone even had a chance to taste, the jello came to life. Slowly, over the course of about 3 minutes, the two hemispheres separated. The good teacher that I am, I documented this to build into my lecture about the hemispheric asymmetry and split-brain research. Can you identify the corpus callosum?
Then, we tasted it and it became quite obvious why the brain couldn't maintain its shape. It tasted like vodka, perhaps flavored vodka, but pretty much just vodka. Frankly, I don't know how the jello even set given how much it tasted like vodka. I don't know how I managed to screw up a jello shot, but I did. 

The only good news: drunk people on Halloween are willing to consume, messy flavored vodka goop.