Sunday, June 26, 2005

Instant Soup

I'm not actually obsessed by food, but it is often so different to what we expect. Instant soup in the 18th century. Who knew?

To make Veal-Glue, or Cake-Soup, to be carried in the Pocket.(!)

Take a Leg of Veal, strip it of the Skin and the Fat, then take all the muscular or Fleshy Parts from the Bones; boil this Flesh gently in such a
quantity of Water, and so long a time, till the Liquor will make a strong
Jelly when 'tis cold: this you may try by taking out a small Spoonful now
and then, and letting it cool. Here it is to be supposed, that tho' it will jelly presently in small quantities, yet all the juice of the Meat may not be extracted, however, when you find it very strong, strain the Liquor thro' a Sieve, and let it settle; then provide a large Stew-pan with Water, and some China-Cups, or glazed Earthen-Ware; fill these Cups with the Jelly taken clear from the Settling, and set them in the Stew-pan of Water, and let the Water boil gently till the Jelly becomes thick as Glue: after which, let them stand to cool, and then turn out the Glue upon a piece of new Flannel, which will draw out the Moisture; turn them in six or eight hours, and put them upon a fresh Flannel, and so continue to do till they are quite dry, and keep it in a dry warm Place: this will harden so much, that it will be stiff and hard as Glue in a little time, and may be carry'd in the Pocket without Inconvenience.

[Note - glue at this time was sold in hard cakes that were melted in hot water and needed to be kept hot for use. Fish glue. Pungent stuff, but strong when set.]

We are to use this by boiling about a Pint of Water, and pouring it upon a piece of the Glue or Cake, of the bigness of a small Walnut, and stirring it with a Spoon till the Cake dissolves, which will make very strong good Broth. As for the Seasoning Part, every one may add Pepper and Salt as they please, for there must be nothing of that kind put among the Veal when we make the Glue, for any thing of that sort would make it mouldy. Some of this sort of Cake-Gravey has lately been sold, as I am inform'd, at some of the Taverns near Temple-Bar, where, I suppose, it may now be had.

[It probably isn't necessary to think that the heads of the Scottish lords beheaded after the Jacobite rebellion were still on display at Temple Bar. No connection at all. None.]

As I have observ'd above, that there is nothing of Seasoning in this Soup, so there may be always added what we desire, either of Spices or Herbs, to make it savoury to the Palate; but it must be noted, that all the Herbs that are used on this occasion, must be boiled tender in plain Water, and that Water must be used to pour upon the Cake Gravey instead of simple Water: so may a Dish of good Soup be made without trouble, only allowing the Proportion of Cake-Gravey answering to the above said Direction. Or if Gravey be wanted for Sauce, double the Quantity may be used that is prescribed for Broth or Soup. I am inform'd by a Person of Honour, that upon this Foundation, there has been made a Cake-Gravey of Beef, which for high Sauces and strong Stomachs, is still of good use; and therefore I shall here give the Method of it.

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