umm, what I MEANT to show you was

not this empty styro container, which held my take-home portion of tomato aspic on leaf lettuce with homemade mayonnaise and decorative paprika sprinkle. I MEANT to show you the pretty pretty yummy aspic. But I ate it. All of it. Lettuce too, and got a piece of bread to mop up the mayonnaise and paprika.

Yesterday Gary and I had a lunch date at Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis. Every weekday during Lent they have noonday preaching and a waffle shop open for lunch. Gary had waffles with chicken hash. I have been dreaming of aspic for weeks- so I had the "salad plate," which consists of tomato aspic, shrimp mousse, chicken salad, and half a canned pear with cottage cheese, all atop lettuce, each served with a rosette of wonderful homemade mayonnaise and the aforementioned sprinkle of paprika. I also ordered and extra aspic to eat later in the week. I didn't think that meant Tuesday, but to be truthful, it was half-eaten by Monday night.

Usually, I am a whole-foods eater- pure flavors, unadulterated by extra flavors, gelatins, chemicals. This is 1950s food, but in a purer form. Nothing but getatin in here that's objectionable to me. I SO enjoyed my 50s food. My birthday is coming up in a month, and I think that I'm going to have a Calvary Salad plate to celebrate. When the Waffle Shop check-out ladies asked if we enjoyed our meal, and "how was the aspic?" I had to profess my love for it and admit that when I made the same recipe for Easter two years ago, I ate an entire 9X13 pan of the stuff over Easter week.

Intrigued? Want to call me crazy (even my mother thinks my love for aspic is odd)? Here's the recipe, adapted from the Waffle Shop Cookbook:

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 can tomato juice
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
celery tops
parsley
1T sugar
1T plus 2tsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp salt
2T each cider vinegar and lemon juice.

Dissolve gelatin in tomato juice, add all ingredients but acids. Bring to a boil, turn off heat. Add acids, cool, strain, pour into pans and refrigerate. Serve with homemade mayonnaise* on a lettuce leaf

I'd give out the shrimp mousse recipe, but it makes 3 10x 18 pans!

*Duke's mayonnaise, made in South Carolina, without any sugar, is an acceptable substitute for homemade.