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Egg balls and brain balls

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Carroll’s wacky invention of a living and breathing ‘mock turtle’ in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland couldn’t have failed to raise a smile among his contemporaries, and the creature’s ‘Turtle Soup’ song is a wonderful send-up of the Victorians’ predilection for mock turtle soup.

Mock turtle soup had its origins in the mid 18th century, when it was a cheap alternative to soups made with real turtle flesh. Offal and eggs were prepared to resemble the texture of turtle meat and served with a rich veal or mutton broth. By the time Carroll published Alice’s Adventures in 1865, it was no longer regarded as a poor man’s alternative – mock turtle soup had become a delicacy in its own right.

Egg balls and brain balls were popularly served up in a tureen with the soup, and this recipe from Kitchiner’s Cook’s Oracle shows how it was done:

This Regency recipe for egg balls could be easily adapted to make brain balls

This Regency recipe for egg balls could be easily adapted to make brain balls

Egg Balls (Brain Balls same way)

Boil four eggs ten minutes & put them into cold water. When cold, put the yolks into a mortar with the yolk of a raw egg & a teaspoonful of flour, same of chopped parsley, some salt (what will lie on a shilling) & a little pepper. Roll them into small balls (for they swell in boiling). Boil them a couple of minutes.

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2 thoughts on “Egg balls and brain balls

  1. Pingback: Egg balls and brain balls | The Snail of Happiness

  2. Pingback: History A'la Carte 10-17-13 - Random Bits of Fascination

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