Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tomato Aspic

Please welcome returning guest blogger Barb Goffman who brings a new Thanksgiving recipe.

Let’s be honest. There are two kinds of Thanksgiving. There’s the one held by folks who love their families, who are sad being apart, and for whom Thanksgiving is a joyous time to come together and share food and happiness.

Then there’s the rest of us. The ones who think fondly of the bird and the day off from work and who try to put out of our minds the annoying aunt who always shares embarrassing stories and the uncle who gets drunk and tries to feel up every woman in the room.

Yes, Thanksgiving can be a crapshoot. No one knows that better than Felicity, the main character in my story “Murder a la Mode,” in the new anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping, published by Untreed Reads Publishing. Felicity is a good southern woman. She’s in her early twenties. Married a couple years. And now, to her horror, she’s spending Thanksgiving with her husband’s family—at a nudist colony.

Between averting her eyes, getting uncomfortable hugs, and avoiding the stare of lecherous Great-Uncle Lester, the afternoon is bad enough. And that’s before someone dies. There’s probably not a person reading this who hasn’t dreamed of killing someone during Thanksgiving dinner. But what happens when it actually occurs? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

In addition to reading and laughing your way through Thanksgiving, I have one more coping suggestion: comfort food (much better than murder). Here’s a recipe for tomato aspic, which is a retro southern side dish that Felicity would like. This recipe comes courtesy of Mary Stuart Andrews, mother of author Donna Andrews. “We always had it for Thanksgiving,” Donna said. “I was a fussy eater, and this was one of the things I would eat.”

Tomato Aspic

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons catsup
1 teaspoon meat sauce (Worcestershire, A-1)
1 tablespoon minced onion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped celery


Soften the gelatin in a half-cup of the cold tomato juice for five minutes.

Heat the salt, catsup, meat sauce, and remaining tomato juice to boiling.

Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin/juice mixture.

Add celery (and onion, if used).

Chill in the refrigerator until it starts to congeal. (Takes about 30 minutes.)

Stir and pour into a serving bowl. (Hint: Use a clean, non-greasy spoon for the stirring so not to slow down the congealing process).

Chill in the refrigerator until firm. (Minimum time to reach firmness is two hours. Overnight is best.)

Makes six servings.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. I also hope you’ll share your stories about interesting places you’ve spent Thanksgiving. Can anyone top Felicity’s nudist colony?

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Murder a la Mode” is one of seventeen stories in the new anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping, published by Untreed Reads Publishing. All the stories in the book are funny and involve Thanksgiving. This anthology is a follow-up to one I wrote about here on Mystery Lovers Kitchen two years ago, simply called The Killer Wore Cranberry. That book contained eight humorous Thanksgiving food tales. Both books are published solely in electronic format and are available at all the usual online outlets, as well as directly from the publisher, at And until the end of the month, if you buy right from the publisher and use code THANKSGIVING at check-out, you’ll get 30 percent off.
Barb Goffman's published fiction has all been in the crime short-story realm. Her stories mostly focus on families, because the people you know best are the ones you'll most likely want to kill. Barb has been nominated for the Agatha Award four times and for the Anthony and the Macavity awards once each. In her spare time, Barb serves as a co-coordinating editor of the Chesapeake Crimes series (Wildside Press) and as program chair of the Malice Domestic mystery convention. She's an avid reader and a doting mom of a very cute dog. You can learn more about her at and you can like her on Facebook.




  1. LOL! Welcome, Barb. Thanksgiving at a nudist colony? That's very hard to top! Though I imagine Felicity would have liked a top.

    I did spend one memorable Thanksgiving on the coast in Spain. No turkey, but I seem to recall a lot of clementines. And we all wore clothes.

    Thanks for joining us today, Barb!

    ~ Krista

  2. I would never think of making aspic, but this actually sounds good Barb--like a jellied bloody Mary:) I agree with Krista--the nudist colony takes the cake.

  3. Felicity would have LOVED a top. Or an apron. Or hair long enough to cover her ...

    Anyway, Thanksgiving in Spain sounds delightful, Krista. Let's all dream that we're there right now ... ahh. I'm more relaxed already. And, Lucy, your idea of adding a Bloody Mary, or a jellied Bloody Mary, definitely finishes off the scene. Thanks to you both, and to the rest of the ladies here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, for hosting me today. Happy early Thanksgiving!

  4. What a fun-sounding story! And you're so right about Thanksgiving and families! The bird usually isn't the only turkey at the party! I remember making jellied consommé as an appetizer way back in the 1970s (when I was just a toddler, ha, ha). I imagine aspic is similar?

  5. Thanks for the recipe, Barb! And a word of advice: If you celebrate Thanksgiving at a nudist colony, stay away from the giblet gravy!

  6. Hi, Peg. Thank you! And yes, I think jellied consomme is probably similar to aspic. (Jellied anything is probably similar to aspic.)

    And, Alan, I won't be celebrating anything at a nudist colony. I'll leave that joy to my characters. But if you want to try it, I'd be all ears to hear how it goes.

  7. Hey, let me add that I have another food-oriented story coming out soon. "Bon Appetit" will appear in the anthology NIGHTFALLS, which is scheduled for release from Dark Valentine Press on December 1 in e-form and will also be released later in trade paperback.

    NIGHTFALLS is a cross-genre anthology. The publisher is donating all its profits from this book to Para Los Ninos, an LA organization that helps needy children. All the stories in the book are set on the night before the world ends. In my story, a woman who has put up with an abusive husband for years decides she's going to stand up for herself, once and for all, while she still has the chance.

  8. Good post, Barb! I really loved your story in THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A SECOND HELPING. It made me laugh out loud several times. Only YOU could come up with the idea of a naked Thanksgiving feast at which a murder is committed.

    I, too, have a story ("They eDone Him Wrong") in TKWC2. It's about ereaders who commit murder. If you think your electronic reader would never harm you, think again.

    It's been fun to be in this anthology. Each author has such a different "take" on the holiday.

    Hope you and all the readers have a terrific Thanksgiving. I also hope you will all be keeping your clothes ON. At least for most of the day!

    Gail Farrelly

  9. Your post's a hoot, Barb. Thank you for stopping by the kitchen.

  10. Thanks, Gail! And I have to wonder about the electronics at your house. This isn't the first time they've come alive in your stories. Where are your ideas coming from? Hmm?

    And thanks, Wendy, too. I'm so glad I've had a chance to chat with the MLK readers.

  11. Barb, welcome. A nudist colony? I guess the turkey would have felt welcome, bare-chested and all. Can't top that one. What a fun, wicked sense of humor.


    Daryl aka Avery

  12. Hi, Avery. Thank you. I had a lot of fun with the setting. I should point out that, despite the nudity, the story is actually pretty cozy. All averted eyes and ellipses and things like that. : )

  13. Sounds like a fun story and a good anthology! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Thanks, Jacqueline! And you're welcome, too.