Tomato Aspic was one of the unfortunate and unforgettable parts of my family’s Christmas Holiday. My dad’s mom was no cook and made no excuses, but she did have some signature dishes. Tomato Aspic was this dish and thankfully it only reared its red jellied self at the Christmas season.
This dish was served with appetizers, morning eggs, afternoon soup and sandwiches, and special dinners during the holiday season. We were all required to take some on our plate. We were also expected to gulp down the blob that shook on our plate. My grandmother would look at empty plates but for the red blob and say, “chomp, chomp, chomp.” My sister and I would share a desperate stare and look back up at our grandmother. We would take the smallest amount on our spoon or fork (depended on how well it had set), and nibble off as little as possible with our eyes watering. My grandmother would sigh and tell us to stop being babies and to look at brother’s clean plate. My sister and I would turn our eyes to my brother’s smiling face and clean plate. We glared, at him and then down at the red mocking jello.
This tradition although despised growing up, is now a running family joke. My grandmother is 97 and hasn’t made Tomato Aspic in at least 8 years. It is odd that something that caused so many in the family, adults and children alike, so much pain is now a fond memory. No one has passed down this recipe. No one has served it up on any holiday gathering. But we do tell the tale of long holiday dinners staring at red molds decorate with some green vegetable.
Handy recipe below for those who are brave: