White Soup

The Penquin edition of Pride and Prejudice says that white soup is “”made from meat stock, egg yolks, ground almonds and cream, and served with negus (hot sweetened wine and water) as a warming and intoxicating beverage at balls.” Laura W adds, “I think it must mean that the soup was actually served as a beverage (and therefore not limited to the supper room).

Jane Grigson in her book English Food , writing about White( or almond )soup states that it is “a beautifully white soup which goes back to the cookery of the middle ages, the courtly cookery of England and France.(The French name is soupe a la reine). Almonds then played an even larger part in fine dishes than they do today…In the country it was a favourite soup for winter parties_ in Pride and Prejudice Mr Bingley declared his intention of giving a ball at Netherfield ‘as soon as Nicholls had made white soup enough I shall send round my cards’.

Eliza Acton remarked that when she gave a recipe for Westfield White Soup,…she had not varied the original at all “as the soup made by it…seems always much approved by the guests of the hospitable country gentleman from whose family it was derived, and at whose well-arranged table it was very commonly served”.

Here are some traditional White Soup Recipes as well as a modern equivalent.