Queen Victoria Probably Never Ate Her 'Favorite Soup'

The Victorian era is known as a period of drastic change, both politically and socially, as per History. The vast expansion of the British empire, growth of cities and industry, and evolution of scientific discoveries were overseen by the country's second-longest-reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

The famed monarch was a redeeming figure for the country and influenced everything from fashion to literature. She was also known for her unique eating habits. A typical royal menu of the time may have included, "entail soup, fish, cold boiled chicken or roast beef, dessert and fruits," as per History Extra. Not the most appetizing menu for today's consumers. 

Another one of the notorious meals that Britons recall as a favorite of the Queen's was brown Windsor soup. Modern renditions of the soup, according to Food, are gravy-like and their ingredient lists usually include chunks of lamb and beef alongside vegetables such as onions, carrots, and parsnips. Seasonings like chili powder, salt, and pepper accompany splashes of Madeira wine and beef stock. The unique soup is known today by Britons across the nation as a rather disgusting Victoria-era soup, as per Atlas Obscura. Although, there's one problem with this story: Brown Windsor soup didn't exist until the 1920s.

Brown Windsor soup didn't exist in the 19th century

Various food and cookbooks cite brown Windsor soup as a favorite of, not only the Victorian era, but Queen Victoria herself. According to Foods of England, such sources make statements such as "the very soup reputed to have built the British Empire" or that it "regularly appeared on state banquet menus." However, the actual historical menus and literature of the time don't mention the soup anywhere. Foods of England notes that the first mentions of the rather disliked soup started in the 1920s, and even then it was not commonly found.

According to Atlas Obscura, this discovery can come as a shock, as many Britons grew up believing this dish was a staple of the era. A possible explanation for this mixup could involve another dish of the time, potage á la Windsor. This stew was served to Queen Victoria and is included in a 19th-century cookbook. Although, some would argue this confusion is unlikely since potage á la Windsor was a white soup made with differing ingredients.

Another possible explanation could be the popularity of brown Windsor soap at the time. This soap was made in Windsor and is said to have been used by Queen Victoria.

Possibly, a combination of the white soup and brown soap spun up this modern-day culinary drama. Whether this is the culprit or not, it is unlikely many Britons will be dropping their beliefs surrounding brown Windsor soup in the near future.