Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mock Turtle Soup

At first I thought one might make mock turtle soup to protect the poor little guys. That's what we do in 2011; we think about protecting species such as green turtles. But of course this was a different day and age. Turtle soup was prestigious; turtles were expensive. The thrifty cook did what she could to imitate the upper crust without having to dip into her pin money.

So I started out thinking that making this soup verged on saving the ecosystem, or was at the very least a random act of turtle kindness. But then I actually read the recipe.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about mock turtle soup:
Mock turtle soup is an English soup that was created in the mid-18th century as a cheaper imitation of green turtle soup. It often uses brains and organ meats such as calf's head or a calf's foot to duplicate the texture and flavour of the original's turtle meat.

Mrs. Fowle's Mock Turtle Soup: "Take a large calf's head. Scald off the hair. Boil it until the horn is tender, then cut it into slices about the size of your finger, with as little lean as possible. Have ready three pints of good mutton or veal broth, put in it half a pint of Madeira wine, half a teaspoonful of thyme, pepper, a large onion, and the peel of a lemon chop't very small. A ¼ of a pint of oysters chop't very small, and their liquor; a little salt, the juice of two large onions, some sweet herbs, and the brains chop't. Stand all these together for about an hour, and send it up to the table with the forcemeat balls made small and the yolks of hard eggs."
Now I'm no vegetarian. Beef is good food. I love steak, and burgers, and roast beef, and shepherd's pie. But there is something about taking the head of a poor little cow tyke and boiling it until the meat falls off that makes me feel worse for it than I might for a turtle.

I think I'll have a veggie burger for lunch...

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