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An aspic spoon is a spoon which has been specially designed to help people eat aspic, a type of savory jelly. Aspic spoons have a very unusual and distinctive shape, along with a sharp edge to help people cut through objects which may be suspended in the aspic. These spoons are typically found paired with aspic servers, specialized serving utensils used to cut out wedges of aspic for individual servings; you may also hear an aspic server referred to generically as a jelly server.
The aspic spoon is an extremely esoteric piece of silverware. Many people who pride themselves on setting very formal tables for parties don't use aspic spoons; this may also be due to the fact that aspic has fallen in flavor in many cuisines, as it is a food with an acquired taste. You may spend your entire life without ever encountering an aspic spoon, but after you read this article, you'll know one when you see it.
The bowl of an aspic spoon is asymmetrical. Depending on the design, it may be sinuous, with several curves, or it may be have a single gentle curve, like a leaf. Aspic spoons are typically shallow, with a hint of a lip to prevent the aspic from sliding out of the spoon as it is used. One edge of the spoon is typically reinforced and a bit sharp, ensuring that people can cut through the various things one may encounter in aspic dishes, such as meats and vegetables.
Aspic was once a fixture at formal dinners, and it was often brought out in the form of a large and quite impressive mold studded with an assortment of ingredients. Using an aspic server, the hostess or the wait staff would cut out wedges of the jelly, which is notoriously unstable, requiring people to eat it quickly, before it melts or becomes lopsided. Aspic has a very unique texture, typically melting away in the mouth as it is consumed, and it sometimes has a strong flavor, depending on the meat or fish used to make it.
Aspic has been served in Europe since the late 1300s, and it still crops up occasionally. Because aspic is a bit rare in many regions of the world, the aspic spoon has begun to disappear from the world of formal silverware. Old-fashioned sets of full silverware may contain aspic spoons and an aspic server, and you may be able to special order aspic spoons from companies which specialize in formal flatware and china. You can also sometimes find aspic spoons in antique stores.