Posted by: Erica Retrochef | September 25, 2008

Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters (one of many traumatic dishes made possible by Jellateen)

Jell-a-TYNE? Jell-a-TEEN? Who knows... Before we delve into this week’s recipe, I’d like to share something that’s been bugging me for a few days. Now, I’m sure you’re reading this thanks to phonics, that wonderful system by which a word like “antidisestablishmentarianism” can be broken down into reasonable sections, and thereby pronounced. Unfortunately, phonics fails me when I have to use Knox Gelatine in a recipe. It’s that pesky “e” at the end of the word. It makes a long-I, which says EYE, instead of a short-I, which says EEE. So, a word spelled G-E-L-A-T-I-N-E is technically correctly pronounced “jell-a-tyne.” Without an “e”, it would be “jell-a-tin.”

So when I see Gelatine, I hear “gelatin” in my head because that’s a much more familiar pronunciation (even Firefox spellcheck is refusing to acknowledge gelatine as valid). But I see the “e” at the end and an annoying little voice shouts, “Jell-a-TYNE! Um… jell-a-teen?” This results in a temporarily distraction from my normal sensible approach to food, and I end up cooking something like Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters.

Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters... it is what it says.

(I actually found this after first landing on the terrifying Corned Tongue in Aspic. I will not buy tongue. It’s not gonna happen. Look elsewhere for sheer masochism. I don’t even know where to buy tongue, and I am not going to find out.)

Use beef stock; place frankfurters upright; hard-cooked eggs, sliced; diced celery. Frankfurters take on new glamour in this gleaming aspic.

From 500 Snacks: Bright Ideas for Entertaining (1941), Culinary Arts Institute

Glamour indeed. I challenge anyone to come up with a sentence using both “frankfurters” and “glamour” — and I won’t accept “Frankfurters are not usually associated with glamour.”

Anyway, Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters appeared quite simple, like any good ingredient-centric recipe. I decided to jazz it up a little bit by making the frankfurters more visually appealing. (I had to do something — my hot dogs were too tall to fit in my bundt pan.) You can’t do much with diced celery, jellied bullion, or sliced eggs — but hot dogs, those turn into adorable little octopi.

Octopus frankfurticus (common name: whadda widdle cutie-pus)

Cut the bottom of the hot dog into 8 eighths, cook, and voila, curly little legs. You can even carve teeny smiles and eyes into them. Guaranteed to make preschoolers happy.

Once the eggs and celery were cut up and my hot dogs were octopussed, they all went into the bundt pan

Eggs, celery, and frankfurtipus in a bundt pan

and got covered with gelatined broth. (Ewwwww.)

Drowning the frankfurtipi and their garden in bouillon

Then it sat in the fridge for two hours. Reeeeally easy. Even popping it out of the mold was easy. But that’s when I started to have some misgivings. Some of the bouillon I’d used to make broth hadn’t dissolved, so there was some grit on top of the molded ring. You also couldn’t see anything besides the hard-boiled egg slices. The aspic was not “gleaming” so much as “very muddy”.

Pure nasty, with gritty bouillon remnants on top

The pretty celery leaf garnish didn’t help. It tasted worse than it looked. Much worse.
Most revolting dinner ever
While hot dogs, celery, and egg are tasty on their own, or even together, they are NOT tasty when coated in salty beef jelly. In fact, they are downright disgusting. Even hours after dinner, my stomach was angrily reminding me that I was a horrible person for expecting it to digest this foul mush. Utterly revolting.

It was just wrong. It should be sent to the Fail Blog. It was so bad I gave my child a piece of cake instead to try to make up for this heap of crap. If I cooked like this regularly, it would be grounds for divorce — if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, this dish is a shortcut to a restraining order.

But on the plus side, the preschooler was very pleased with the octopi, and the dog thought he had gone to heaven when he got the vast quantities of leftovers. And it was a hell of a good laugh.



  1. You are braver than most. I’ve got a 50s cookbook full of slightly higher-rent specialties than this one–I should take some pictures and post them on my blog sometime. (My fave is the photo of coctail party food featuring meatballs on skewers served stabbed into a giant cabbage that’s been hollowed out and with a flaming can of sterno in the middle, just for fun!)

    I learned about the little hotdogtopi a few years ago, when I was in a restaurant with a child in our party. She ordered mac and cheese, which was homemade and really good, and garnished with adorable fried hotdogtopi! A real hit.

  2. @Historiann — That’s awesome… “What else can we do to make this appetizer-holder look interesting? Set it on fire!!!”

    Buzz asked me (as he was scraping the platter off for a deliriously happy dog) if I was purposely making really bad food, because it seems to be getting worse and worse. I promised a dessert next week.

  3. ok, my throat just closed up.

  4. Quotes heard at this meal:

    Erica, giving a bowl to the one-year-old: Here you go.
    Erica, after trying hers, and as the baby reaches to pick up some aspic: No you don’t! That’s way too much sodium for you!

    Erica: What are you doing?
    Buzz: I promised myself I’d eat some more of the gelatin.
    Erica: You don’t have to do it to make me feel better, and you’re not going to with that facial expression.

    Erica: I can’t even make myself put it in my mouth.
    Buzz: Let me get you a really grainy bit.

    Buzz, about to give the leftovers to the dog: Do you want to get a picture of this?
    Erica: No, I don’t want there to be any evidence for the SPCA.

  5. I think these vintage recipe experiments are probably the coolest things in the world!!! This one sounded gross, but the experiment is awesome. You should throw a sixties-style party and make these disgusting dishes and make your guests eat them! hehe 🙂

  6. A friend sent me this recipe and my husband seriously thought it was a recipe for home-made dog food.

  7. Yeah – this looks absolutely . . . umm, for some reason the word ‘horrorshow’ springs to mind! I do have one question though. With a thing like this, surely the crucial thing is the stock – Bouillon? I once made an attempt at chinese egg soup recipe – which was essentialy “Take stock ==> put egg in it” and the result was SO revolting that i still dream about it occasionally. But of course – i just, well, took stock, as ordered (i was young, ok!!). I imagine a true egg soup would be something much more subtle. I just wonder whether tweaking the stock in this recipe could make it work better. But then again, i am not sure what stock WOULD work with frankfurters and i also have to ask one very important question: IS IT WORTH IT!!??

  8. […] Meringue Pie This was the worst thing I’ve made in a while. (Not as bad as Jellied Frankfurters, but then what could possibly be as bad as Jellied Frankfurters?) Today’s fable has many […]

  9. […] practically every course. We’ve all wondered what the hell could motivate someone to create Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters — well, it was simply so they could brag about owning a refrigerator. You can’t […]

  10. […] exercise in controlling nausea. These are the people that brought you such brilliant innovations as Frankfurters in Goo, or Pie Plate Salad — not known for good […]

  11. I would like to make a disgusting, but technically edible sea themed jello mold using blue jello, clam juice to give it that fishy ocean smell, Hotdogtopi, swedish fish,mussels and chard (looks like sea weed) I would secretly bring it to a dinner party and just sit back and watch if people tried it.

  12. […] juices on a regular basis. The same cannot be said of, jellied frankfurters in aspic, and I survived that. So I was willing to give this a […]

  13. This is so going to be shared on a Wiener Wednesday. Bless your heart!

  14. Oh wow! Somebody else made this!

  15. My face is green!

  16. My wife made this (from the same glamourous recipe) years ago as a birthday “surprise” for a poker friend of ours, famous for often only having weiners and beer in his fridge. She even carved tiny suit (spades, hearts, etc.) celery and radish shapes.
    What is consistent with your experience is that it was revolting to eat. Unfortunately no dog, and our two unfussy cats took one sniff and left. Thanks for resurrecting a memory. Still haven’t got around to Grapefruit Lobster Snack from the same ancient cookbook.

  17. This looks like it would be awesome to make and do a blind taste test!

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