The Great Gelatin Revival

Savory Aspics, Jiggly Shots, and Outrageous Desserts

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Pub Date 10 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 29 Mar 2023

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Once synonymous with food novelty, gelatin has re-emerged as an attention-grabbing element of creative cuisine and avant-garde drinkology. Ken Albala’s most fearless food exploration yet takes readers into the sublime world of aspics past and present. Blending history with his trademark zeal for experimentation, Albala traces gelatin’s ever-changing fortunes alongside one-of-a-kind recipes that inspire, delight, and terrify as only jello can do. Gelatin’s wondrous arrival in the medieval era was part of a technological watershed. Today, it reflects our high-tech zeitgeist. Albala encourages readers to celebrate gelatin's return with advice on creating a base and making silicone molds while his outrageous original creations dare you to add some jiggle to breakfast (Eggs Benedict in Champagne Jello), a nightcap (Froot Loop Negroni), or any culinary moment in between.

A lighthearted manifesto for the new age of aspics, The Great Gelatin Revival rattles our very understanding of what food can be.

Once synonymous with food novelty, gelatin has re-emerged as an attention-grabbing element of creative cuisine and avant-garde drinkology. Ken Albala’s most fearless food exploration yet takes...

Advance Praise

"Ken Albala is a formidable food historian, a writer of wit and charm, and a diligent digger of obscure facts. In The Great Gelatin Revival, Albala argues convincingly, and demonstrates with innovative and startling recipes, that gelatin is a food with a future--not to mention a glorious past."--Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil

"Ken Albala is a formidable food historian, a writer of wit and charm, and a diligent digger of obscure facts. In The Great Gelatin Revival, Albala argues convincingly, and demonstrates with...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780252086816
PRICE $27.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 23 members

Featured Reviews

Very interesting! I had to check it out because I love seeing the vintage gelatin dishes. Mysteriously, none of the elders I've asked have ever heard of it! I live in the Southeastern US so perhaps that's why.

I don't think I'll be working gelatin into my rotation but these are fun visuals!

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Fun book! I recently got into making an electrolyte jello so when I saw this book I was so excited to find new ways to use gelatin!

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Wow, that was a trip. First off, this is the most thorough book on gelatin history and techniques that you’ll ever read. Times a hundred. It’s also the weirdest. The author is a historian, professor and aspic aficionado who runs a popular Facebook group called show me your aspic. Apparently he started out curious about gelatin and it’s history and then started seriously playing with it. At some point he posted a photo of an actual experiment he made of a BLT martini jello sandwich that went viral and the project was born.

You cannot imagine the level of horrifying gelatin creations this guy has made. Really. They will surpass anything you can dream up. The one where he recreated moose nose jelly for a tv crew defies description. The steps you are supposed to go through… yeah, no. I’m not usually one to say this, but OMFG. And there’s a photo.

I’m not making any of these. I don’t even want to. But I learned a ton and if I were fascinated by gelatin (is anybody besides this guy and the folks in his Facebook group?), this would be a must have.

Oh yeah, and definitely not recommended for vegetarians.

I read a temporary digital copy of this book for review.

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I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I have noticed in cooking shows that gelatin is being used a lot more and in such cool ways! This is a great book to push the limits and have fun.

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As a bookseller/buyer, the market for this book is small. However, if sold correctly, the readership could grow easily. The first thought is "foodies'. But history buffs might also find this book appealing. It's a fun book. Any reader with an ounce of curiosity would love this book. Totally unique, historical, and did I mention fun?

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Starting from the very beginning of gelatin, this book starts with a very early history of the product made from boiled animals hooves bones and fish bones and scales. We progress through the ages and chefs to todays use of the jelly like substance. Ending with some interesting and colorful recipes to showcase whole food encases in transparent gelatin. An interesting book both in history and creation. Thanks you NetGalley and the publishers for the DRC

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4 stars, Amazing Gelatin

by Ken Albala

There are amazing things you can do with gelatin. My only contact with it has been Jello, and Jello Jigglers. I might try making jiggly shots, but other than that, I don't think I'll be attempting the other recipes in this book. Our family doesn't care for the texture of gelatin in savory recipes.

If you were wondering about the history of gelatin or the early ways of preparing foods with it, then this is the optimum book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of #theGreatGelatinRevival from #UniversityofIllinoisPress I was under no obligation to post a review. #coverlove #nonfiction #food #Gelatin

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The Great Gelatin Revival is a revelation! I admit to being jiggle-curious, and have always adored to eat the congealed juices from a roast or add them to a hearty soup. This book, however, takes all things gelatin to a whole new level! From layered dishes to gel-within-gel masterpieces, there is something to amaze, delight, and possibly terrify all of us. The author self-admittedly pushes the aspic envelope with creations for every aspect of food and drink. Whether you already are congealing your food or merely curious about what the fuss is all about, you will not be disappointed. From a history of jelled food and drink to the challenge of bringing these forgotten parts of kitchen cookery back to glory, you will be surprised at the breath and diversity of offerings. Go forth and gel!

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Everything you want to know about dishes with gelatin and gelatin. It's very entertaining and informative.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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All about gelatin… this was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the bried history lesson (cue jelly houses). The recipes… I’ll try a few of them. Maybe I’ll get more adventurous- some of them are bizzare. My biggest downfall is that most involve alcohol which isn’t part of my cooking.
I read an ARC.

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The Great Gelatin Revival is PURE FUN! Gelatin is coming back and this is your guide to how to do it all. Read it for inspiration, guidance, and a good time. Highly recommend - I am seeing gelatin everywhere so this is coming at the perfect time.

Thank you to Netgalley and University of Illinois Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Great Gelatin Revival is out now!

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Mr Albala’s “The Great Gelatin Revival” is a good read for any budding chef or cooking enthusiast looking for a bit of an odd challenge. The history of gelatin and its relatives and substitutes is covered and peppered with wacky recipes that remind me of some of he monstrosities I saw in my parents’ cookbooks from the 60s and 70s. Though, you won’t be subjected to any Spam trifles, there are some interesting flavor combinations in the savory, acidic, alcoholic, and sweet departments. A great book for any adventurous foodies.

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You may have noticed that gelatin dishes are making a comeback. It is especially evident in Ken Albala’s cookbook, The Great Gelatin Revival: Savory Aspics, Jiggly Shots, and Outrageous Desserts. This excellent book is full of old fashioned jelled concoctions, as well as the ubiquitous and more modern Jell-O shots that are so popular.

One of the good things about this book is that the author has done his research, and has written a chapter on the history of gelatin. The chapter is actually fascinating, and is good reading to curl up with on a rainy day. There is a chapter on Technique to insure that your dishes actually gel correctly, as well as chapters on vegetables and salads, seafood, meat and poultry, dairy and egg, fruit, and outrageous combinations. These cover virtually everything you could possibly do with gelatin. Albala also covers the different types of gelatin, their uses, and pros and cons.

There are enough recipes in this excellent cookbook to appeal to almost everyone. The recipes are written in the traditional form and are easy-to-follow. There are also beautiful photographs of the techniques and also of most of the recipes.

All told, anyone who wants to make a jelled dish will definitely benefit having this book on their cookbook shelf. It covers everything anyone could possibly want to know about gelatin as well as enough recipes to keep everyone very happy.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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