Recipes from the 1950s: Dead Things in Aspic

Plants and animals have been getting stuck in amber since the beginning of the Cretaceous Era, and today’s recipes, freshly resurrected from the 1950s, continue that proud tradition. For anyone who likes to avoid the relentless cheer of all those farm-fresh items on the food pyramid, these scrumptious dishes are for you. Today we explore the amazing world of dead things in aspic.

1. Dead Shrimp Parade Ring: Nothing whets the appetite like watching shrimp gallop in a gelatinous circle! This dish is for those times when you just want someone to look at you the way you look at food.

Ingredients:

12 shrimp. Or twenty, depending on size. If you buy those teensy ones, get a hundred and call it a herd.

3 Apples

Cloudy green Jell-O to evoke tropical waters that are now murky thanks to climate change.

1 quart mayonnaise

English ivy for garnish

Instructions:

Make the Jell-O and pour it into a ring.

Press shrimp into “racing positions” around the ring and chill.

Slice apples, mix some into the mayonnaise and set aside.

Unmold the Dead Shrimp Parade Ring on a plate, fill center with apple-mayo mixture, garnish with apple slices and English ivy, and serve with a stirring Sousa March.

2. Little Spaghetti-O Mouths Crying for Help Ring: A favorite with the kiddies, this recipe couldn’t be simpler, and the dialog your family will invent for the tiny talking Spaghetti-O mouths tragically trapped in the aspic will entertain for hours! It’s a terrific dish for when you’re hungry and want to stay that way.

Ingredients:

3 cans of Spaghetti-Os

6 hot dogs

Packet of Jell-O Seasoned Tomato flavor gelatin. They don’t make it anymore, but you can probably find a box in the EBay antiques section.

Instructions:

Dump the Spaghetti-Os in a mold and add the gelatin powder. Mix. Chill. Wait. Unmold on a plate. Cut the hot dogs in half and arrange them artfully in the center.

Dialog suggestions for the little Spaghetti-O mouths:

O! Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done! (Good way for Dads and Moms to remind the kids it’s time to stop farting around and do their homework.)

O! Lord, give me chastity, but not just yet. (Nice opener for the “birds and bees” talk with the kids.)

O! Brother, Where Art Thou? (Discussion starter on how bluegrass music can make a bad day better.)

3. Chilled Sh*t in Aspic Loaf: Love means never having to say “no thanks.” This toothsome treat is filled with hand-selected seafood goodness that’ll make your family think you’ve opened a can of whoopass on ’em! You can take satisfaction in knowing that seafood prepared this way is so good it’ll not only make your family smarter, it’ll make ’em, “we don’t know when to stop eating” smarter.

Ingredients:

Scallions, celery and other green and white cylindrical veggies.

Seafood (crab, lobster, vampire squid, whatever).

Tomato soup.

Gelatin, lots of gelatin.

Instructions:

Chop veggies.

Mash seafood into little threads.

Mix tomato soup with gelatin, fold in veggies and seafood.

Form into a loaf. Good luck with this step.

Chill until set. Garnish with nearest houseplant and serve.

Ideas for making this meal even more fun:

Play “Seahunt” in the gelatin and hunt for the seafood.

Make your kids identify the genus and species of each veggie before eating. Don’t worry about the extra time it’ll take, this meal is already cold!

Discuss the importance of good digestion.

Next up: The Super-Supper Loaf

6 COMMENTS

  1. I laughed until I cried- not only the priceless photos & recipes but your snarky commentary, thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Thanks, but no thank you. To think that we survived the 50s. Not without some emotional scars in my case at least.

    • People are telling me, “But I was around back then and don’t remember eating those things,” and I’m replying, “That’s because the human brain blocks traumatic events.”

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