Gelatin. Gelatin can be a natural agent or a powder. All fresh bones of meat, fish, or poultry contain some natural gelatin that is released when cooked in a liquid, be it water, soup, or stew, and that is what causes some soups and stews to become firm and “jelly-like” when they are cold. Most often in the home, however, gelatin is a powder that is first softened in a little liquid. After the gelatin is softened, it is then added to a hot liquid such as a fish, chicken, or meat broth or hot seasoned liquid like tomato juice. Various foods, such as crab meat, lobster, shrimp, vegetables, and so on, can be added to any of those liquids and then the liquid will become firm when it is chilled. Some gelatin dishes are sweet and are used for desserts, some are savory and serve as salads, first courses, or luncheon dishes. Almost all savory gelatin desserts are called aspics (q.v.).

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