Food - Drink
The 'Pocket Soup' That Fueled 18th Century Sailors
By HEATHER LIM
In the 18th century, sailors were willing to travel the seas for months with no outside food sources, but they did carry morsels of flavor called “veal glew,” portable soup, or pocket soup. This soup was invented by the seafaring British in the late 1500s, as a sort of "fresh" bouillon cube that could make a flavorful broth in an instant.
Pocket soup was essentially beef broth that was cooled into a gelatinous slab, and had an intense umami flavor. “The Modern Art of Cookery” by Ann Shackleford has a recipe that involves stewing calves' feet, veal, mutton, and other animal parts; then, lots of salt and egg whites are added to the broth to turn it into a rubbery solid.
The final solid could then be added to boiling water to make broth, and while pocket soup is a predecessor to bouillon cubes, it took hours to prepare, compared to the inexpensive process of making the cubes. "Veal glew" still lives on in history, and Meriweather Lewis even purchased 200 pounds of it for his famous expedition with William Clark.