Monday, June 15, 2009

Madame Schumann-Heink "Anybody Can Make Jell-O"

Months of Edible Celebrations | Madame Schumann-Heink "Anybody Can Make Jell-O"

It is said, there is always room for Jell-O. So, I'm sure, one more post which includes a Jell-O recipe isn't going to bother anyone especially if it includes cherries.

Today I want to share a Jell-O recipe endorsed by one of San Diego's most beloved opera singers; (and mother of eight) Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink. Did you know that in 1915, San Diego officials were so taken with Madame's profound effect on their city that they proclaimed March 22nd as "Schumann-Heink Day." Since Ernestine Rössler was born on June 15th in 1861, I thought I would share a few biographical clips with you and also a couple of recipes in her honor.

In the early 1900s, Mme. Schumann-Heink was San Diego's most famous and best-beloved citizen, a legendary figure. She was considered the world's greatest contralto singer. Her records sold by the thousands. And like Babe Ruth and Mary Pickford, her fame was so great that her name became a household word. source

Mme. Schumann-Heink made her American debut in Chicago in 1898, and first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Ortrud on January 9, 1899 a few weeks after giving birth to her seventh child. So happy was she with the enthusiasm of American audiences that she bought out her contract from Berlin and continued to perform regularly at the Met until 1932. Schumann-Heink's first commercial records appeared as part of Columbia's Grand Opera Series of 1903. That year, Schumann-Heink shocked the opera world by appearing in a Broadway revue, Love's Lottery; the show was followed by a highly profitable tour. During the tour, Paul Schumann died; Schumann-Heink then married her American manager and moved her family from "Villa Tini" in Dresden to an estate in New Jersey. She became an American citizen in 1908. source

For years the annual Christmas Eve radio broadcast of ‘Silent Night', sung by Madame Schumann-Heink, was an American tradition.

In 1926 Schumann-Heink first sang “Silent Night” in English and German on the radio at Christmas. This became an annual tradition that continued until 1935. On March 11, 1932 she bade farewell to the stage, singing Erda at the Metropolitan Opera, but she continued to perform in weekly radio programs sponsored by a manufacturer of baby foods, which led to her being termed “The Nation’s Beloved Mother.” Though not beautiful, Schumann-Heink turned her plainness into an asset by playing the part of an ideal, self-sacrificing mother who loved her children (that is, everybody) yet scolded them when they did not come up to expectations. She once said that her lack of good looks enabled her to avoid temptations that might have proved enjoyable. source

Before I share the Cherry-Strawberry Jell-O recipe with you, I'd like to point you in the direction of another recipe attributed to Madame Schumann-Heink; Madame Schumann-Heink Cookies. It is at the Yahoo World Opera Group and also includes a short biography.

All Doors Open to Jell-O ©1917

The following Cherry-Strawberry Jell-O recipe was featured in the Jell-O cookbook All Doors Open to Jell-O Other celebrity recipes in this booklet published in 1917 include, stage actress; Ethel Barrymore, cookbook author; Marion Harland, Kewpie artist; Rose O"Neill and the most famous contralto of her generation; Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink.

Madame Ernestine Schumann-Heink | Cherry-Strawberry Jell-O

Ernestine Schumann-Heink had the remarkable gifts of great musical talent, survival, and an enormous sense of humour. Once, when she was in a New York restaurant, about to tackle a huge T-Bone steak, Caruso walked in. On seeing the size of the steak, he said, "Ernestine, you're not going to eat that all alone?" She replied, "No, mit Pomme Frittes!" (source)
What is Home? A roof to keep out the rain. Four walls to keep out the wind. Floors to keep out the cold. Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father. Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindess, loyalty, comradeship. Home is the first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind. Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick. Where joy is shared and sorrow eased. Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved. Where children are wanted. Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned. Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness. That is home. God bless it.-Ernestine Schumann-Heink


  1. J-E-LLO. It's alive!

    I had to do it!

  2. See, this is an appropriate use of gelatin... fruit! MMMMM! So much nicer than veggies or meat in there...

    And as always, a lovely story to go with a nice dessert :) Thanks!

  3. Oh Duckie, you have such a way with Jell-O!

  4. Thanks for dropping by Erica. It's always nice to "see" you.

    I much rather have Jell-O with fruit too. Those masked gelatin dishes are sometimes, quite frankly, horrid!!!

  5. Mmm. You've inspired me, Louise. I posted a photo for you at my place. :)

  6. Thank you Karen, I'll be right over...

  7. It's the book I self- pubbed on Lulu. I'm still on my own! IT's just on amazon.com now.

  8. Great blog you have here. I love your header banner. Fantastic!

  9. Thanks for visiting Dia, I LOVE my banner too!!! Jesse from Cakespy made it for me.

    Stop by again, I'm off to visit you...


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise