Calves Feet Jelly

“FRESH CALVES FEET JELLY.
Scald, take off the hair, and wash very clean four feet ; put them into a saucepan with two quarts of cold water, and when it comes to a boil let them simmer for six or seven hours; take out the feet, and strain the liquor into a deep dish. The following day remove the fat carefully from the top, and give it another boil, which will reduce it to one quart of stiff stock or jelly.—This may be flavored as you like ; it must be dissolved and boiled again when seasoned. It is very delicate and nourishing for an invalid.”

You may remember Pollyanna delivering Calves’ foot jelly to Mrs. Snow.


1869, The Kitchen companion, containing valuable recipes for ice creams, puddings, pies, cakes, blanc mange, custards, &c., &c., being an excellent guide to the housewife

Wizard in the Tree by Lloyd Alexander also has a reference:

“Ah, yes, it would be better to save our business for a happier moment. These distressful events have put a strain on all of us. I can see you’re not quite yourself. A good night’s sleep will work wonders. Tomorrow, I’ll bring you a pot of my calves’foot jelly, that has always been very curative.” Mrs. Parsel would have made her way to the door. but Scrupnor stepped in front of her. “‘That’s thoughtful of you, Mrs. P., but unnecessary. Calves’-foot jelly. Ah, if only our cares and concerns could be lightened with a little calves’-foot jelly, the world would be a happier place.”

This is immediately prior to Scrupnor imprisoning Mrs. Parsel in his counting room for safe keeping while he works out the details of his plan dastardly play of untimely deaths  for Mrs. P, Arbican the wizard, and Mallory.

It’s recommended in most 19th century cookbooks as nourishing for invalids and delightful to children when sweetened with dried fruits, lemon juice and sugar.

There is a version popular in Jewish cookery which has boiled eggs and meat suspended in the gelatin, rather than being a clear gelatin. Those don’t look appetizing to me at all, but I think I’d be willing to taste any of them. I don’t think I could bring myself to prepare a batch, though.

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One Comment

  1. Chris
    Posted May 21, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Gelatin is excellent for poor digestion. My kids had GI problems as little ones and I gave them a very specific diet with liberal use of organic bones to make gelatin. I would turn it into jello and gummies.

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