September 10, 2010

Jellied Everything

Leafing through my vintage cookbook collection, I'm struck by how many recipes there are for food presented in aspic, particularly in the 40's. I'm one of those people who makes a lot of dining decisions based on "mouth feel" as much as by flavor.  Love the taste of bananas, hate the slimyness.  The slippery sensation of oysters and the gummy texture of clams give me shivers. All my meat is mercilessly trimmed of fat before it passes my lips.  So, I find the notion of eating any meat, fish or vegetable presented inside a quivering mass of jellied buillion appalling, with some selections (tongue, for example) going right on to nauseating.  And judging by the way aspic has disappeared from current cookbooks and restaurant menus, I don't think I'm alone in finding it repulsive. Here's a sample of some yummy aspic recipes I have in just one book in my collection, 500 Tasty Snacks, Ideas for Entertaining (possibly they meant 'Ideas for Entertaining People You Hope to Discourage from Cadging Meals from You in the Future'). The choices include:

Hard-Cooked Eggs in Jellied Buillion
Chicken Mousse
Jellied Salmon
Ham Mold, New Orleans Style
Jellied Melange (chicken and ham)
Jellied Beet Pickle Salad
Pate de Foie Gras in Aspic
Jellied Tuna
Tongue Mousse
Jellied Calf's Liver
Ham and Cider Jelly Loaf
Liver Sausage in Aspic

and my favorite - not just for the yucky factor, but for the wonderful presentation of hot dogs standing at attention .....

Jellied Buillion with Frankfurters

 Bet you never thought of hot dogs as a glamorous choice! And it's so simple to make:


1 T. unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups hot beef broth
Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Diced celery

Soften gelatin in cold water.  Dissolve in hot stock. Sprinkle celery in desired mold.  Arrange sliced eggs around the edge. When stock begins to thicken, pour into mold and insert frankfurters in an upright position then chill until firm.  Unmold and garnish with vegetable curls or cups, radish roses, endive or parsley. 
 Photo and recipe from 500 Tasty Snacks, Ideas for Entertaining, Culinary Arts Institute, 1940


  1. Tongue mousse. That is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of.

  2. I couldn't agree more!!!!!!!!