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The Jell-O Curse

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Sep 24, 2018

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player, Stitcher, or Apple Podcasts. (And please subscribe!)

"My sort of odd and tangential claim to fame here is that my great-great-great uncle, by marriage, Orator Francis Woodward, bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor in 1899 for $450 and then sold it for 67 million in 1920s," says Allie Rowbottom.

That $67 million in the 1920s is the equivalent of about a billion dollars today. Which makes Allie an heir to the Jell-O fortune.

Lately, Allie’s become obsessed with Jell-O-how all that money shaped her family -- and America.

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Jell-O money has funded generations of women in Allie's family.

But it's also been a shadow they couldn’t escape -- a twisted metaphor for all the bad things that happened in their lives. At some point Allie and her mom Mary (above together) started to wonder: Are we cursed?

"The first time I really remember my mom talking about the curse was when I was quite young," Allie explains. "I think I was probably five or six."

This week on The Sporkful, we explore one family’s very complicated relationship Jell-O.

It's a story that comes to us from a new podcast called Household Name. (Check it out! We especially like their episodes about TGI Friday's and Charles Shaw Wine, aka "Two Buck Chuck.")

Today's sponsors:

Interstitial music in this episode from Black Label Music:

- "Hang Tight" by Hayley Briasco

- "Asphalt Gods" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Private Detective" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Hot Night" by Calvin Dashielle

- "Legend" by Erick Anderson

Photos: FlickrCC/Rakesh Rocky and courtesy Allie Rowbottom

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