My mother made the best tomato aspic: highly-seasoned, perfect consistency, delicious. But for some reason the recipe never was written down and put in her recipe box. I could, vaguely remember the procedure, but it wasn’t until I found a recipe in the Good Housekeeping Cookbook that I truly thought I could duplicate it.

Aspic goes with almost anything and it’s good winter or summer. But it’s especially good these hot days with cold cuts and cheeses or with outdoor cooking.

Mother’s Tomato Aspic

3 cups tomato juice

1 stem celery

1 small onion, sliced

2 slices lemon

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/8 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup cold tomato juice

1 tablespoon vinegar

3 or 4 good shakes Tabasco

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

2 3-ounce packages cream cheese

Combine 3 cups tomato juice, celery, onion, lemon, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes. Strain, pushing through as much pulp as possible.

Meanwhile, mix cold tomato juice, vinegar and Worcestershire. Sprinkle gelatin over the mixture, stirring to soften.

Stir gelatin mixture into hot mixture until dissolved. Check for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, etc., until suits your taste. Pour into mold or molds and refrigerate until slightly set.

Soften cream cheese (season lightly if you like with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and onion.)

Drop by teaspoonful into aspic. Return to refrigerator until completely set. Serve on lettuce leaves topped with homemade mayonnaise.

P.S. Ronnie, Joe, Mrs. Clark: the blender method WILL work. Just be patient and add the oil initially drop by drop. See Food For Thought today! -LFS