Salmon Jell-o Anyone?

Serve it Cold coverServe it Cold!
A cookbook of delicious cold dishes
Crosby &  Bateman

Naturally, the warm summer is a perfect time to break out the cold food. As you can guess, one of the stars of this cookbook is our old friend gelatin. I believe that appetizing fish dish on the cover is salmon in aspic. As a Midwesterner, I can appreciate versions of jello like no one else. I will have marshmallows and fruit cocktail in mine, please. However, this aspic/fish combo seems to be everywhere in cookbooks from this era. I don’t get it and I don’t remember ever seeing it when I was a kid. Perhaps this type of cooking was too sophisticated for my delicate central Illinois upbringing.

Of course cookbooks are a favorite here at ALB and I do think that public libraries should pay attention to food fashions. I can’t imagine this book flying off the shelf anytime soon.



Serve it Cold authors

jellied egg ring with dilly tuna

Greek Salata

chicken breasts en gelee


  1. Jellied Egg Ring with Dilly Tuna. I’m speechless. And I have NO appetite.

  2. Growing up in the 70’s I remember seeing these recipes, but don’t recall my mother ever making any (she was an adventurous cook). Perhaps we also were too unsophisticated to appreciate our food enrobed in jello. However, I still get this perverse, nostalgic joy to see recipes like this. Maybe it is a reminder of simpler times or maybe just the eeww factor 🙂

  3. Okay. I confess. I don’t own this exact cookbook but I own a number of “vintage” cookbooks with lurid food photos and strange recipes. And I love them, even if I never cook anything from them. (I think I do have a copy of The Joy of Jell-o, which I bought just for the nostalgia of the 70s-fabulous photos: I grew up in the 70s.)

    Maybe not appropriate for a library collection but I do love vintage cookbooks.

  4. It’s so hot out right now that I don’t feel like eating much at all. At least it helps me not to gain weight. And this book helps even more. Blech!

  5. Salmon in aspic is a lot of work, which is why very few make it any more. Salmon mousse in aspic is even more work, and I think that’s what the cover art is.

    But… it’s delicious and very pretty. The gelatin is not sweet — it’s made with the poaching broth from the salmon (think lemon, onion, dill, white wine…) and sparkles and glitters. The salmon is cold and firm, and delicately seasoned. I had it at a wedding (they did two whole fillets) and it was just elegant.

    I make poached salmon with watercress mayonnaise and it’s a favorite hot-weather food in our house. You poach the salmon the night before, so there’s no cooking at all during the heat of the day.

  6. The gelatine craze in the 1950s-1970s was truly amazing, judging by the recipes. You can hardly pick up a cookbook from that era without confronting it.

    I wonder if the late 20th Century was full of formerly-prosperous gelatine-industry people wandering around saying, “What happened? We had it all. Everyone loved us. And then it all vanished …”

  7. Interesting. June Crosby was the sister-in-law of the 1940s crooner Bing Crosby. She doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but her late husband Bob does; he passed away in 1993.

    1. The Wikipedia page is spot on:

      Back in the Dear Dead Days of the late 19th/early 20th century, jellied consommé was a highly-thought-of summertime soup course. It implied that the home, restaurant, or hotel had an icebox and plenty of money for ice. It’s mentioned in many cook-books, and in (for instance) Dorothy L. Sayres’ Strong Poison, where it forms part of the meal eaten by Mr. Urquardt and Philip Boyes.

      Gelatin itself used to be called calf’s-foot jelly, and was considered appropriate fare for invalids and those with delicate appetites. It took hours and hours to make.

      1. Hmm…I seem to recall that it one time, it was specifically understood to be mint-flavored. I always thought mint seemed an odd thing to serve on lamb chops.

        1. Mint goes excellently with lamb. Mint sauce or mint jelly is a very common condiment. My husband wouldn’t think of eating lamb without a good dollop of mint sauce!

  8. Decorative aspics and gelatins were popular long before the 19th century and used gelling agents such as hartshorn (from the antlers of young male deer) and isinglass (from the air bladders of fish, usually sturgeon). Hooray for jello, I say.

  9. Wow! I love vintage cookbooks – I just scored a copy of the 1963 Joys of Jello. This is now next on my list! I’ve made some recipes from my Joys of Jello cookbook – although, none with meat or veggies…yet. lol!

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