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1789, "savory meat jelly," from French aspic "jelly" (18c.), literally "asp," from Old French aspe (see asp) + ending from basilisc "basilisk" (the two creatures sometimes were confused with one another). The foodstuff said to be so called from its coldness (froid comme un aspic is said by Littré to be a proverbial phrase), or the colors in the gelatin, or the shape of the mold.
savoury clear jelly prepared from a liquid stock made by simmering the bones of beef, veal, chicken, or fish. The aspic congeals when refrigerated by virtue of the natural gelatin that dissolves into the stock from the tendons; commercial sheet or powdered gelatin is sometimes added to ensure a stiff set. Aspic is used to coat and glaze foods such as cold meats and fish, eggs, poached or roasted poultry, and vegetables; plain aspic chopped or cut into shapes garnishes cold dishes. Various foods can be combined with aspic in decorative molds. Mayonnaise or sauce veloute mixed with liquid aspic yields chaud-froid, a sauce that can be coloured and used to decorate cold foods.