Soup will be on the lunch menu again

I recently bought a soup maker, as I’ve mentioned before. Yes, I know it’s really easy to make soup without one, chopping the vegetables, cooking,blending, rubbing through a sieve – but with this you just put everything in, lid on, switch on and 22 minutes later perfect velvety fresh tasting soup! Over Christmas it was put away as there was too much going on, but now we’re back to a quieter period soup will be on the lunch menu again.

Looking at my 1940’s recipe book, ‘Cookery ToDay and To-Morrow’, there are plenty of suggestions for soup – but I’m not sure I fancy many of them. Written during the war and food rationing, it was necessary to be economical and inventive, but Bacon Rind Broth? Gravy Soup? Pea Pod Soup – that reminds me of an episode of ‘The Good Life’ when Tom and Barbara made pea pod wine which was highly alcoholic… Rice Soup is made with veal bone stock and salt and pepper, garnished with grated cheese Brown Soup sounds more interesting than the name suggests, with plenty of vegetables including beetroot, parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions and carrots in a beef stock. However, although I have eaten smoked el which was very  delicious and looked inoffensive, the images of eels which stay with me from reading Gunther Grass’s The Tin Drum’, have put me off them as an ingredient to cook, so no Eel Soup for me! However, if you are braver than I am, here’s the recipe:

Eel Soup

Skin 2 lbs of eels and divide them into small pieces. In 2 oz of melted margarine fry together 2 oz of sorrel, a grated carrot and onion, 1 tablespoonful each of chopped parsley and tarragon leaves and salt and pepper. Then add the eel and fry all together for 5 minutes. Add 2 pints of water and simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Remove a few of the best pieces of eel and let the pan simmer slowly for 1½ hours. The strain through a hair sieve. Rinse out the pan and melt 1 oz of butter in it. Add 1 oz of flour, mix till smooth, add the soup and stir till it boils. Put in pieces of eel, season and add ½ pint of milk or 1 gill of cream. Bring just to the boil and serve with sippets of bread.


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