One magical day at IKEA, I impulse-bought a large trifle bowl, and it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.
It's turned out a lot better than lots of my extremely well-thought-out decisions, to be perfectly frank with you.
Because of that trifle bowl, Syd and I were able to make this last week:
Why, yes, Friends, that IS a giant bowl of rainbow Jello!
The kids and I are not strangers to the idea of using Jello as a decorative element. I also used this very trifle bowl to make the blue Jello ocean--with whipped cream waves and a graham cracker beach--for Will's ocean-themed seventh birthday party, and we used even more blue Jello to make the seas around our giant cookie map of Ancient Greece just a few months ago.
This, however, is my favorite Jello memory: the first time that Will made Jello independently when she was eight years old. Hijinks ensued.
I've had it in my mind for a while to try out making rainbow Jello in that bowl, and finally I decided that spending the week with Syd while Will was at day camp, and the need to make sure the idea worked because maybe I wanted to have it at my Girl Scout troop's Bridging party in a couple of months, were excuses enough to just buy seven boxes of Jello and make it happen.
Make that six boxes:
No Jello manufacturer in the entirety of Kroger's (and there were several--who knew that Jolly Rancher had gotten into the Jello business?!?) could provide me with more than one shade of blue.
I'd wanted to add fruit to each layer in a bid to make the dessert something beyond mere empty calories, but Syd was having NONE of this. She was absolutely horrified by the idea of putting purple grapes in the purple Jello, and blueberries in the blue Jello, and green grapes in the green Jello, and starfruit in the yellow Jello, and mandarin oranges in the orange, and cherries in the red.
She was even more disgusted when I suggested that we add a layer of marshmallows to the top of the finished Jello, and they could be clouds.
So we made plain Jello for each layer, and to be fair, Syd actually did most of the work. We had to wait until each layer had set, about four hours, before we could add the next layer, so the entire creation took two days, but I kept coming into the kitchen to check if the Jello was set yet, only to find that Syd had come in just before me, found that it was, and went ahead and added the next layer without fanfare. I think she ended up adding four of the six layers!
The one bummer is that the bowl is so wide that you can't really see as much color in the bottom layers as you can the top--the light just can't shine through it. But on a sunny day, or in front of a light table, the colors show better, and, of course, when you're ready to serve...
P.S. If you want to avoid the artificial colors in Jello, I am positive that you can get this same effect with unflavored gelatin (or even agar-agar) and juice, but I'll tell you right now the same problem that I ran into when I was planning Syd's rainbow party--you can't find natural juices in all the colors of the rainbow.