January 15, 2008

Aspic - Or More Aptly Named: Ass Pick

I can't really say it's the grossest thing ever eaten or will ever be eaten, but it ranks in the top ten. Aspic. Whoever the hell invented this putrid side dish should be drawn and quartered.

Wikipedia defines aspic as:

"...a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé. When cooled, stock made from meat congeals because of the natural gelatin found in the meat. The stock can be clarified with egg whites, and then filled and flavored just before the aspic sets. Almost any type of food can be set into aspics. Most common are meat pieces, fruits, or vegetables. Aspics are usually served on cold plates so that the gel will not melt before being eaten. A meat jelly that includes cream is called a chaud-froid.

Nearly any type of meat can be used to make the gelatin: pork, beef, veal, chicken, or even fish. The aspic may need additional gelatin in order to set properly. Veal stock provides a great deal of gelatin; in making stock, veal is often included with other meat for that reason. Fish consommés usually have too little natural gelatin, so the fish stock may be double-cooked or supplemented. Since fish gelatin melts at a lower temperature than gelatins of other meats, fish aspic is more delicate and melts more readily in the mouth."

Congealed meat juice? I have to admit I've never had the misfortune of having to eat something as disgusting as gelatinous meat juice; however, Faux Ma has subjected me to one of her favorites, Tomato Aspic.

This slithery, slimy chunk of what she calls a salad ranks up there with one of the worst things ever invented for human consumption.

The first time I saw Tomato Aspic on Faux Ma's table I admit I was curious. Here was this red square of, I don't know, opaque jello, with little flecks of, I don't know, fleck material embedded in it. The red square was placed delicately on a bed of shredded lettuce. Of course when I put a forkful into my mouth I could immediately feel the bile crawling up my esophagus. It's like, tomato, I said to myself. I hate tomatoes. And what's this chunky stuff? These flecks...what are they? Oh my God, how am I going to eat this 3"X3" square of crap? I looked at Boyfriend desperately. "Could you please pass the buns?" I asked him. With every bite of aspic I took three bites of buttered bun, and managed to clean my salad plate with the help of a half dozen rolls.

Little did I know, Faux Ma had included the recipe for her aspic in a little cook book of Boyfriend's favorites, which she gave me at when we moved in together. She enlightened me of this after I gave the obligatory "mmm," upon the first bite. Boyfriend denies aspic is one of his favorites; in fact, he denies any of the recipes she gave me in that little cookbook are his favorites and asserts his mother was subversively telling me how to cook for her boy because she knows better than anyone what's good for him.

So, without further adieu, I give you Faux Ma's V-8 Aspic recipe:

"1 can V-8 juice (beer can size). "Beer can size." Yeah, like Faux Ma has no idea that's 12 ounces. 'Fess up ya little schweel hound. Heat and pour over one 3-oz package lemon jello. OK, right there I'm all, how much acid can one person take? Tomatoes and lemons? Yikes!Add a dash of Worchestershire sauce, 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice, and less than one-half can of water. Less than one-half can of water? Would that be the "beer can size" can? And how much less than? Half again as much? A tablespoon less? What the hell, Faux Ma? Do you want me to make this stuff or not? A few finely chopped nuts, celery, and/or green pepper may be added. Ah, the mysterious "flecks." Chill until firm. (I refrigerate the aspic in an 8"X8" pan. When firm, cut into six pieces and serve on a lettuce leaf.)"

OK, gross. It's just icky and gross. And plus, she's makes it into such gargantuan servings. She makes her dessert servings 1/4 of the size of her aspic servings. Where are her priorities, not to mention her taste buds?

I've been lucky in that I've had to choke down tomato aspic only three or four times in the last eleven years I've spent with Boyfriend. I'll give it one thing, it's got the right name. Ass Pick is exactly what I would call it.

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