Clam Aspic – A Gelatin Recipe Test

Posted on Oct 24 2012 - 6:29am by RetroRuth

So, today we have a sort of crazy little gelatin recipe that was fun to make.

This is Clam Aspic:


It was submitted to us by Veg-O-Matic, who writes:


Ever since I started reading Midcentury Menu, I’ve been keeping my beady little eyes peeled for, uh, suitable recipe contributions, and I think I’ve found one!

You’ve had tuna in gelatin!

You’ve had cabbage in gelatin!

You’ve had shrimp in gelatin!

You’ve even had tongue in gelatin! (ew)

But have you ever had clams in gelatin?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

Anyhoo, this recipe comes from Josie McCarthy’s Favorite TV Recipes. She apparently had a cooking show on TV in New York in the ‘50s. Sort of like Betty Feezor, though without all that southern charm. Most of the recipes in the book are at least halfway decent, but this one for clams in Jell-O just sounded… Well, it sounded like it would cause some epic Tomface™.

And that’s what it’s all about.


Clam Robert

Nice, huh? Let’s get started.


“What on earth are you making?”

“The Mid-Century Menu. Why?”

“The cats are all sitting around your feet.”

“Are they?”

“They are, and I think I know why. It smells like cat food in here.”

“Actually, I think you could say it smells like ‘Tom food’ since you are the one who is going to be eating this.”

“Funny. Real funny.”

“The cats think it is funny.”

“The cats just want some ‘Tom food.’”


This recipe actually was kind of funny. And by that, I mean it was fun. There were a lot of positives. I am not a big one for cooking with clams so it was nice to be able to do that. I have to say that this recipe was very unique. Also, it was very easy. And I have never put so much Worcestershire sauce into one gelatin recipe, so that was fun too.


See, so four nice things.

What else….Oh! I got to cube it to serve it, which was unique. And then I got to cover it with Russian dressing. I can honestly say it was the first time I had ever poured Russian dressing over cubes of clam aspic. And not a lot of people get to say they’ve done that, so that was fun.

Annnnnnd I think that is about it for positives.


So now we have our scary cubes of clam gelatin covered with Russian dressing. And Tom is excited.

Just look at this face.

Tom FaceIMG_9276

Really, look at that face. You can tell he is loving it.

And you can also tell that he bears absolutely no ill will to Veg, the sender of this recipe.


None at all.


Well…moving on….

Tom’s Tasting Notes:

Tasted mostly like Russian dressing. Which wasn’t bad. Steaky. Not as bad as I thought it would be. Mostly flavorless with a hint of clam and steak.

The Verdict: Mostly Flavorless

Thanks to Veg for sending in this recipe!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. marytoodles October 24, 2012 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Neat! Jello was certainly popular back in the day. I get the impression it had a “distinct” taste. It kind of looks like sashimi…

  2. Eartha Kitsch October 24, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    I’m surprised that it has as little taste as it does. For some reason, I can smell it in my mind though.

  3. veg-o-matic October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Wow. Based on Tom’s expression, I hope we never meet. I’ll have to start submitting recipes under a pseudonym.
    Okay, so you take clear gelatin and then add clam juice to make it murky, Worcestershire sauce to make it brackish, throw in some rubbery, overcooked mollusks and serve with Russian dressing (how on earth did I miss THAT?), and it’s STILL not the worst thing Tom has ever eaten. So I really don’t think I deserve that Death Glare.
    At least it didn’t contain any American cheese.
    (But boy howdy, you can bet your butt I’ll be looking for some new American cheese recipes to send you. I’m sitting on a Velveeta recipe that defies description…)
    Well, at least I was right in my prediction that it caused some epic Tomface™.
    Plus, it was “steaky”! How often has Tom gotten to say that?

  4. nickarmadillo October 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Blech! Tom must be some kind of culinary masochist. He’s a far braver man than I. Those gelatin recipes are the worst.

  5. Mimi October 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Does Veg-o-Matic have a blog???? I must know. Also, I am curious….What is the WORST thing Tom has ever eaten?? Do tell…..

  6. Mia October 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Oh, my…

  7. Sara In AZ October 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    That recipe REALLY skeeves me out…………I don’t know if I’m going to be able to eat tonight now!!! 😉

  8. Jen October 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Honestly, I am amazed that you WENT for this and Tom ate it. For that alone y’all deserve props!

  9. Chris November 1, 2012 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Very few things about the 20th century confound me more than the Food in Gelatin era. I just don’t get it. Not even a little bit. I’ve blogged about a number of atrocities on this front, most recently a recipe for shrimp and egg in aspic that was so horrifying that I refused to share the actual recipe:

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