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Mock Turtle Soup
I'm happy for the turtles--but miss the extraordinary turtle soup I ate in my youth at the little grill across from Reading Terminal in Philadelphia (a reader has written in to remind me it was Kelly's Grill on 12th street--thank you!). Now that sea turtle meat is prohibited by law, this recipe makes a fair substitute. Interestingly, even when turtle meat was legal, it was terribly expensive. As a cheap substitute in the 18th century, therefore, recipes appeared in England that recommended the use of calf's head or even veal as being similar in taste and consistency. American cooks turned to beef or oxtails, when they couldn't get native turtle meat, and followed the British seasonings of allspice, sherry, and hardcooked eggs. Serve this meaty American version hot as a rich first course to 4-6 people, with little cruets of sherry on the side.
When ready to serve, chop the eggs coarsely and stir into the soup. Ladle into bowls, stir in a teaspoon of sherry to each, top with parsley...and put a cruet of sherry on the table, for atmosphere if nothing else.