"A special cup--a little bigger than a demitasse cup and smaller than a teacup--was even designed for it and has become a standard item in restaurant china lines."
--George Lang, in his Compendium of Culinary Nonsense and Trivia

As a sidenote, please recall that in his day Lord Curzon was considered the arbiter of taste. True story: when a Steward of Balliol College, Oxford, suggested that a lunch for Queen Mary begin with Brown Windsor Soup, Lord Curzon returned the draft menu with the note: "Gentlemen do not take soup at luncheon."
--Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

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Lady Curzon saves British civilization

(or, No Teetotallers, please, we're British)

The story goes that British statesman George Nathaniel Curzon, then Viceroy of India, ordered a great dinner to be prepared in honor of a guest who happened not to be able to drink alcohol. This was in 1905.

Lady Curzon, his American-born wife, was in a terrible position. She had to respect the habits of her guest of honor. However, the rest of the party was made up of Englishmen--and no civilized Englishman would dine without some form of libation.

In the end, Lady Curzon resolved her dilemma by ordering the chef to put sherry in the turtle soup, an elegant first course made of now-protected species of sea turtles. Thus, for so long as this turtle soup is served anywhere in the world (and while it is no longer legal in the United States, it remains a standard on German menus), Lady Curzon's Soup will regally set the tone for elegant courses to follow.

For the record, here's the recipe:

Garnish: 6 Tablespoons heavy cream, lightly whipped

In a bowl, whip together the egg yolks, cream, and curry powder. In a large saucepan, bring the turtle soup to a boil, then gradually beat a cup of it into the egg yolk mixture, making a liaison. Remove the turtle soup from the heat and finish the liaison by stirring in the egg mixture. Add the sherry, then reheat at a very low temperature until light and creamy (it will not thicken).

To serve, pour into hot cups and float a Tablespoon of the whipped cream on each one. Run the blowls under a hot broiler for just a few seconds, to glaze the cream, then serve immediately and triumphantly to 6 people.

"The sign said 'The Green Turtle, Chelonia myadas, is the source of turtle soup...." I am the source of William G. soup if it comes to that. Everyone is the source of his or her kind of soup. In a town as big as London, that's a lot of soup walking around." --Russell Hoban, Turtle Diary, chapter 3