Just Deserts

Virginia received a great little book for Christmas, Wobble, by Rachael Lane, which contains thirty-five tantalising jelly recipes. Inspired by some of the delicacies, the choicest sheet gelatine was sought, but being the Christmas holidays, only powdered gelatine was available from the local supermarket. Still, with her dander up, Virginia followed the instructions for substituting powdered gelatine and set about making some of the appetizing jellies.

All fell quiet in the kitchen, so I wandered in to inspect the recent productivity. I opened the fridge and saw some very nice looking tangerine jellies in individual pots; still warm… and mmm, oh so tangy!

Licking my fingers, I noticed a small tub on the kitchen bench; I picked it up and read the label. It transpires culinary gelatine is made from pig skin – which got me thinking. I sauntered out to the shed with the gelatine to perform an experiment.

While the glue pot was warming up, I returned to the kitchen to find Virginia stewing some bright red plums and preparing other, pungent ingredients. Upon enquiring what was afoot, I was informed that the tangerines had inexplicably risen to the top of the jelly (which is apparently unacceptable) and that a second jelly recipe was therefore under way.

“Have you seen my gelatine?” asked Virginia.

This was no time for the truth. “No” I said with as much gravitas as I could muster, “It’s probably somewhere under all that stuff.”  Somewhat panicked and yet trying to obfuscate the situation, I asked “Have you finished with my needle-nose pliers? I could do with them right now.”

The pliers had been borrowed some days beforehand to repair an earring and hadn’t been returned. The guilt card worked a charm! As soon as Virginia left the kitchen to fetch the pliers, I slipped back out to the shed.

I had tipped half the remaining gelatine into the glue pot and covered it with water, so I needed to replace it with the same quantity of a similar substance.

I have a small electric coffee grinder that I use to levigate urea beads and shellac flakes etc. to assist them in dissolving more readily. I plugged the little grinder in, poured some horse sauce beads into the receptacle and switched it on. Lo and behold! The glue transformed from little golden globules into a pale powder. I quickly tipped some of the powdered glue into the gelatine tub, replaced the lid, gave it a good shake and peered in at my handiwork. Brilliant!

I entered the kitchen moments before Virginia returned, looking befuddled; “I’m sorry” she said diffidently, “I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find the pliers.”

“Not to worry!” I said (I had retrieved them myself that morning). “Is this the gelatine?” I asked benevolently, holding up the gelatine tub.

That night for desert we had Spiced Plum and Cinnamon Jelly which was quite the most scrumptious jelly I have ever partaken of, but lawks, was it rubbery! Horse sauce is evidently much more robust than mere pig skin gelatine.

The spiced plum and cinnamon horse sauce desert.

On the strength of how rapturously the Plum and Cinnamon was received, the good wife has vowed to make the jelly again, but with a little less gelatine than the recipe calls for. In light of this pledge, the tub of ‘gelatine’ has disappeared… permanently.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in animal glue, Distractions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Just Deserts

  1. Ray Gardiner says:

    Nice to have a good chuckle to start the new year, (“happy new year” by the way), you do realize of course, that your continued domestic bliss, is now predicated on the failure of your good lady to read this blog…. good luck with your future cooking experiments…


  2. Scott Turner says:

    Very funny!


  3. ecrusch says:

    Good thinking on the fly my friend.
    Might I suggest to resist the temptation of testing the lady of the houses’ kitchen efforts out in the shed?
    Marital bliss considerations and all.
    Happy New Year from Kissimmee, Florida USA


  4. Manni says:

    Nice piece of writting.


  5. basilg says:

    This may well be the start to a new fad in Melbourne where dinner guests lick the furniture, before sitting,



  6. basilg says:

    There was one guest ( Bart ) who was fond of this practice, but there was a problem, and we were forced to stop inviting him. Coincidentally the shellac has since stopped peeling off the furniture.


  7. Luddite Wife says:

    There will be some Pear & Ginger glue in the fridge tonight if you need something else to hold your next project together with.
    V xx


  8. Richard S says:


    Your story reminded me of and old family friend (whom we used to call “Uncle”) who was known to once add chocolate flavoured laxative into a chocolate cake he made for another relative who he was annoyed with. I’m told rather the predicted outcome for said relative did occur.

    As is sometimes said in Australian slang “…so and so gave me the sh*ts today”


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