An old dish from your grandma’s and great grandma’s day was a jellied, usually fruit, salad plopped onto a couple
of lettuce leaves and dolloped with mayo. She was later roundly criticized for this seemingly “insipid” concoction. If the mixture was thickened with natural gelatin as found in meat consommés, the gelatin then qualified to be called an “aspic.” Then, over time, “Tomato Aspic” evolved, no meat, no fruit, no consommé. Instead clear, Jell-o, or plain gelatin, and tomato juice or canned tomato sauce became the base.
Meat aspics first became popular in the U.S. in the early 1920s. By the 1950s aspics based on gelatin were popular and tomato aspic most popular. It was a chance to display moulded, jiggly creations to the delight of visitors.
Bloody Marys’ history begins with other names for it. The drink we know as a Bloody Mary has had other names. In 1942 Life Magazine announced a new cocktail called the “Red Hammer.” Another story has the Bloody Mary created in Paris, brought to New York’s St. Regis Hotel where it earned the name of “Red Snapper.”
Move ahead to the 21st century. Kick things up. By now we already love our Bloody Marys. Indeed some almost look like vegetable, seafood cocktails. Why not experiment with Jell-0, any flavor, tomato juice or tomato sauce and all those hot and spicy items we love in our Bloody Marys. Instead, now, the Bloody will be in chilled gelatin form, heavily garnished on crisp lettuce, not celery leaves, and topped with a zesty dressing. An idea whose time has certainly come.
FLAVORING SUGGESTIONS & “GO-WITHS”
- Chopped celery/celery salt
- Jalapeno pepper
- Orange jello/plain gelatin
- Pickle spears
- Tomato paste
- Vodka (optional)
- Worcestershire sauce
Below are suggested recipes for aspics and Bloody Marys.