More on Mr Harben’s soups

Philip Harben was an intriguing character and interesting and popular media personality; born in 1906 to theatrical parents, he wrote many cookery books and presented the first TV cookery show.

I have a little book he wrote in 1946, just after the war – or at least, that was when it was published, no doubt he had been writing it and collecting and collating recipes for some time! Food was still rationed when this book was published, and in fact rationing didn’t completely finish until 1954; it wasn’t just food which was rationed, clothes, tobacco, paper, soap, fuel…

As well as extolling tinned soup as soup, Mr Harben also suggests how it could be used in other cooking:

  • Chop in soup
  • curried crawfish
  • curried crawfish another way
  • tomato sauce for spaghetti, noodles etc
  • stew with tinned soup

As you might imagine, some of these are quite simple – curried crawfish is tinned crawfish and tinned mulligatawny soup, and served another way he uses oxtail soup and curry powder; tomato sauce is tomato soup with tomato ketchup added and his stew is fresh meat, vegetables including garlic, herbs and “1 tin of any good soup” – he adds that if you have a tin of vegetable Macedoine you can add that at the last-minute instead of the vegetables.

Here is his recipe for chop in soup:

Put your chop or chops (raw) into a casserole, basin or saucepan. open a tin of soup and spread the cold thick contenst over the chops. Bring to cooking heat and cook for 20-30 minutes. Overcooking will not harm it. But, since the cooking is being done in a thick liquid, you must take precautions against it catching. if you do it in a saucepan you will need to stir it pretty continually. The best plan is to do it either in a covered basin surrounded by hot water, or in a casserole in the oven.
Needless to say any kind of tinned soup can be used, the best probably being: tomato, onion, pea, mulligatawny, mushroom or oxtail; but do not be afraid of using any other flavour.


  1. David Lewis

    I like chops in mushroom soup but I brown the chops a little first. The juice I pour over brown rice after. The reason my Dad left England was the rationing. The last straw was gasoline that was rationed during the Suez crisis. Could have been a Beatle but now I’m just a Rolling Stone. No lichen on me tho.

    Liked by 1 person

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