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Tomato Aspic

(by Lynette Louise)

It was another special day for food and revulsion. A love/hate affair with family and friends. It may have been Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. Our table was the same for all of these. A big brown turkey overstuffed with bread and onion. Sliced ham, brown gravy, mashed potatoes, freshly baked sweet buns, corn, cranberry sauce, green beans, and buttery peas. Added to all the hot dishes we could count on was a cinnamon apple jelly and… Tomato Aspic.

Tomato Aspic is disgusting. Not another single person in our 10,000-person town made it. And certainly no one wanted to eat it. But it was Mom’s signature dish, her special difference, topped with raw shrimp. It jiggled in my hand as I carefully carried the molded tomato juice jelly to our overcrowded table. We always had company for these traditional meals. Mom liked to “put on the dog” for others, but the fear of something going wrong generally led to an outburst and a good slapping once the company left.

Our dining room was traditional right down to the French doors and l