Aspic [noun]: A clear jelly typically made of stock and gelatin and used as a glaze or garnish or to make a mold of meat, fish, or vegetables.
Gelatin [noun]: A jelly made with gelatin, used as a dessert or salad base.
If you peruse cookbooks from the 1950s, you’ll find a ton of recipes featuring aspic and gelatin. Many of us, today, find many of these recipes, well, repulsive. For example:
My friend, Emily, had a Mrs. Beeton party and I made avocado lime gelatin with mayonnaise (left), but it lost the competition for nastiest dish to the Cucumber Au Gratin (center):
Here is the cover of a cookbook devoted to “gel cookery”:
Was it just a fad? It turns out, no. It was status. Or so says a blogger at The Good Old Days:
We’ve all wondered what the hell could motivate someone to [prepare, serve, and eat so many gel-based foods] — well, it was simply so they could brag about owning a refrigerator. You can’t solidify gelatin without refrigeration, and so you couldn’t serve Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters unless you were above a certain income level… So people started jellying vegetables, meats, salads, cream, and pretty much everything in their kitchen.