Friday, September 16, 2011

Charles Dickens' Bread Soup

From Household Words, 1881-

Despite soups being so troublesome, I decided to go ahead and give Charlie's Bread Soup a whirl. 

This looked fairly easy. Johnny Murder picked up the ingredients and I started chopping. 

Four onions, two turnips, and one celery stalk. 

One pound of sourdough* bread.

I was a little worried, because when I set the water to boil and added the veggies, the water barely covered the veggies. 

Within ten minutes, my eyes were filled with tears from the scent of boiling onions. I opened all the windows while cursing Charlie.

I let the veggies boil until tender, and then added a quart of meat liquor (stock?) and the hunks of bread. I stirred and let boil gently for 20 minutes. 

This is what happened.

Dear Lord.

It tastes mildly sweet and pretty salty, but overall it lacks much of a flavor. The real issue is the consistency, a bit like hot, slimy, wall paper paste. It's really unpleasant, and it coats your mouth and throat so you can't tell when you're done with a bite, or rather, a gag.

In an interesting turn, Johnny Murder ate two bowls of the soup. He said it reminded him of rehab food, of being homeless and eating Food Not Bombs food. He said it's the kind of food you eat because you have no choice, and you make it because you get high yields out of a few ingredients. Around the second bowl he started to get really depressed.

Overall, I give this recipe-
5 Hard Times for cooking instructions
1 Old Curiosity Shop for flavor
A total score of 2.5 Barnaby Rudges. Mostly because I believe this soup has now given my Barnaby a terrible case of the Rudge, if you know what I mean.

"...if the appetite is diminished by good nourishment, a great point has been gained."
Nice try Charles, but I'm pretty sure that's not what diminished my appetite.

*My brother tells me that the use of a "new world bread" may have been the problem with this soup. I think it was the least of the problems. 

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