Aspic and Jell-O and Marmalade… Oh, My


Are you familiar with aspic? It’s like a savory Jell-O mold, and while I’ve never eaten an aspic dish in my life (perhaps I should?!), I feel pretty confident labeling it “unappetizing” or “not a chance.” (Fascinated by the technicolor of aspic? Take a lookie at these images.)

Why, you might ask, am I even mentioning aspic? Is it a new paleo recipe path to explore?


I bring up aspic — and its sweet twin Jell-O, along with their cousins marmalade, jam, and jelly — because it’s been a mere 90 minutes since I finished my workout at the gym, and my legs are already feeling gelatinous.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 11.24.26 AM

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m shaking things up at the gym this week and doing workouts that include a heavy set with the barbell, followed by higher volume, lighter weight work on exercises I don’t usually include in my routine. It’s challenging mentally and physically. Yesterday was all about upper body and today, it was my legs’ turn.

Here’s what I did…

3:00 treadmill at 3.7 mph
5:00 jump rope: singles, fancy boxing footwork
high knees + straight-leg march + walking lunge w/ rotation + kundalini frog (with heels on the floor)


back squat, 5X6: 115#, 95#, 95#, 95#, 95#

mini circuit, 3 rounds:
11 rear foot elevated split squat, 15# kettlebell
11 seated calf raise, 35#
max reps hanging knee raise: 5, 5, 7

back extensions, 4X11


handstand practice — accumulated 3:00 of handstands against the wall


It was a whole bunch of  stuff I’ve never (or rarely) done, and it was mentally tiring, as well as physically challenging.

No surprise, my back squats really suffered from not lifting a barbell for about two months. As you can see above, I started optimistically at 115#, but dropped the weight to 95# on subsequent sets so I could get low… which made me think of the song “We Get Low” from The Dead 60’s.

I suspect the “rear foot elevated split squats” are to blame for the wobbliness of my legs right now. I’ve had a notoriously difficult time with those suckers in the past, but today, they were nice and controlled. And nice and hard. I fear tomorrow morning. And let’s not even talk about the hanging knee raises, OK? Just no.

Back extensions. They’re like a kick in the teeth: uncomfortable during and after, shocking in their brutality.

And there you have it: day two of being back at the gym. Despite my grim recap, the discomfort was comfortable, and I’m feeling good. Energized. Accomplished. And yes, gelatinous.

Have you ever eaten or made aspic? Tell us about it!

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  • I love all things gelatin! I often make old-school, decorative Jell-O molds with chopped carrots, celery, nuts and fruit for my daughter. Plus who doesn’t love milk Jell-O, aka Panna Cotta? I haven’t made an aspic yet, but it’s on the list.

  • m'chele says:

    I made tomato aspic once, it turned out fine but it wasn’t anybody’s favorite thing. BUT as I’m typing this I wonder if a bloody-mary-aspic shot would work (the grown up, brunchier cousin of the jello shot?)

    Anyway, apsic is a little hard to wrap my head around. I just expect that texture to taste sweet. It would be like a cake that has the texture of a chicken breast. It just wouldn’t work.

  • Ouida Lampert says:

    I grew up eating my grandmother’s tomato aspic, and I think it was the beginning of my love for spicy things. It was hot and lemony and tomato-y and cooling and, with a smear of her homemade mayonnaise, sublime.

  • Lisa says:

    Ewwww aspic sounds gross. I feel like it’s that stuff that comes off roasted chicken that you throw in the trash. I definitely don’t wanna decorate it with olives and carrots and eat it! Yuck!!!

    It’s fun to look at, though. In a non-appetizing way.

  • Megan Rosenbach says:

    I laughed out loud when I saw this post. My Grandmother would make Aspic Salad for Christmas every year and wonder (out loud) why no one was eating it. One time my cousin took a big helping of it as a joke and it spun the rest of us into an uncontrollable giggle fest during the dinner prayer. It holds a place in my heart, but is utterly disgusting to eat!

  • nalani says:

    Tomato aspic was the ONLY dish that me and my siblings could. not. eat. We eat everything. My parents always made us eat the food on the table and everything on our plate. I remember how they left us at the table with that nasty aspic on our plates and I also remember how we we quietly made it to the sink and turned on the hot water and the darned stuff melted. THANK YOU!!!!

    So, decades later, we still talk about that nasty crud. Ugh! And, how we all defied my parents because it tasted so darn bad.

  • Amy says:

    I went to culinary school at a community college. We had a weeks worth of classes on aspic and an exam on it. No one in there could see the point of it. We had to do crazy stuff like the picture you posted. Apparently it was all the rage a hundred years ago…We had to coat a tray with a thick aspic and decorate it with herbs and veggies, and coat a poached chicken breast and decorate it. This brought back some memories, not necessarily good ones… We could eat what we made, no one wanted to eat that. :p

  • Lucia says:

    Hello from Slovakia 🙂 Aspic is a huge thing here but there are two things to remember. First, it depends on how well it’s done – the best ones are, of course, homemade. Second, it’s an acquired taste. Like olives or beer. Kids usually hate aspic, adults LOVE it. So there 🙂

  • Andrea D says:

    I prefer my savory gelatin in the form of bone broth. “Aspic” should be reserved as a name for an happy little mutt rescued from the pound. 🙂 Can you imagine? “Hi, meet my little dog ‘Aspic’!” What a laugh that would be….

  • Teresa says:

    I’ve been horrified by the concept of aspic since childhood, looking through my mother’s old cookbooks.

    Speaking of aspic and cookbooks, check this site out whenever you have a hankering to laugh till you cry. There’s lots of gelatin encased foods mentioned.

    And if that’s not sad enough, I actually own the first cookbook on the list (Lunches and Brunches), which is where my aspic phobia originated as a small child.

  • Casey says:

    I had never heard of aspic until I went home with my now-husband for a holiday meal. My MIL really likes it and made a tomato one. I liked it too! It was a weird first bite but I would totally be up for trying to make it myself, if you’ve got a good recipe! Hint, hint?