Tuesday, October 30, 2012

There’s Always Room For Jell-O; And Beef On Weck?

Just hanging  around and talking to local people many times gives us ideas of places to see.  The other day in New York we found out about the Jell-O Museum just 40 miles from our spot in Lockport.. Well, what better for a rainy day activity, right?  So, here we go to explore LeRoy, N.Y. This is a small town southeast of Lockport, where Jell-O thrived  and many local families were employed for over 70 years, until the company moved to Delaware in 1965. As usual, we found a few unexpected ingredients.
We learned from a very knowledgeable and pleasant historian at the museum that the man that actually invented Jell-O, Pearle Wait, couldn’t find a way to get people to buy it and sold for $40. Frank Woodward, who bought Jell-O, became very wealthy after trying several marketing ideas.  He finally put together a fleet of salesmen who traveled the state giving away samples; and the idea took off.  He eventually sold the business for $66 million. Oh the marvels of marketing!
This is a fun museum to take you back to the recipes of layered salads, bananas or Cool Whip and Jell-O that2012-10-27 11.33.31 your family has made for years.   There are all sorts of advertising pieces, examples of the development of the various flavors and the ad campaigns, such as, Jack Benny and Bill Cosby. 
And, there’s a bonus that you wouldn’t ever expect in the basement.  They have created a Transportation Museum that takes you through the history of the carriages used over time.  There are sleighs, horse-drawn wagons and carriages, all the way up to a 1908 Cadillac. Just another one of those surprises!
As we were walking out to our car, we paid more attention to the bricks lining the way.  As you’ve seen in other fund-raising situations, they were marked with names of the donors.  But in this case, many of them had some indication of the person’s connection to the Jell-O manufacturing facility. My favorite is the “taster.” Take a look:
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After all this history and jiggly thinking, we were ready to find a good meal. We remembered a recommendation that a lady in Lockport gave us the other day.  She said “Do you like Beef On Weck? We eat at Wagner's at least once a week. “   Well, we didn’t tell her that we didn’t know what in the world Beef On Weck is, but we looked it up on the Internet later. This is a sandwich of thinly sliced roast beef on a German-style bun, lightly dipped in au jus, that is popular in Western New York. Did I say that the bun is generously sprinkled with Kosher salt?  Sounds good to us!   We found Wagner’s Restaurant, located in an old house as we had noticed several other restaurants were in Lockport.  The locals were obviously coming in for their favorites.  Some were enjoying what we call a Beef Manhattan, as well as those of us enjoying the Beef On Weck. The beef was just right, with a nice-dipped-buttery bun. Add to that a nose-tingling horseradish.  There are definitely two new fans of this NY favorite. Yummy!
Here’s a link if you would like to learn more about the Jell-O Museum or LeRoy.
Thanks for visiting Hurley Travels.  Stay safe.

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