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.