1930’s cream of tomato soup

According to some people, the use of garlic was unknown in Britain until the 1970’s and then only thanks to some cooks and restaurateur from other countries who brought ‘real’ food and ‘proper’ cooking to us poor benighted meat and two veg Brits… utter nonsense of course! My grandma who was a very ordinary person, who left school at thirteen and worked as a cleaner used garlic in her cooking… but all that is another story, which I’ve repeated often enough.

Here’s a recipe for tomato soup from the 1930’s (although I am pretty sure it s actually older than that)

Cream of tomato soup

  • 1½ lbs tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ – ½ tsp celery seeds
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1 oz margarine
  • 1½ pint milk (or 1¼ pint made up to 1½ pints with water)
  • water
  • salt and pepper
  • croutons – or sippets as my mother-in-law would call them
  1. add tomatoes, shallots, garlic  and celery seeds (tied in a muslin if preferred)  to 1 tbsp water and cook very gently until tender
  2. rub through a sieve (the recipe suggests removing the shallots and garlic – but I prefer to leave them)
  3. rub through a sieve (these days we can blitz it first)
  4. make a white sauce with the butter and flour cooked as a roux and the milk added
  5. add the tomato pulp, stirring well and season to taste
  6. serve with the sippets

This is the recommended starter for an October menu – followed by saddle of mutton, then apple meringue, then soft roes on toast.


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