More about Brown Windsor Soup Honestly, you just can't imagine the work which has gone into this. We have never found any reference to the supposed Victorian staple of Brown Windsor Soup before the 1920's, and then sometimes as a fictional metaphor for 'rubbish'. We've been through (thanks to the British Library and DC Thompson's) more than Ten Million newspaper pages from 1710 to the 1950s, and more than 6 million words from cookbooks. We've scoured magazines - including the 'Punch' archive - letters, notes, memoirs and home cookbooks. If Google Books is to be trusted - and I suspect it is - there are about 1,400 books, magazines and newspapers mentioning, often 'definitely remembering', BWS, but we can't find one single receipt from before the 1960's. We've paid good money for researchers, including going through the archives of the National railway Museum. Here's all we've ever found... 1892: The, slightly odd, cookbook 'Practical Gastronomy' of 1892 by Charles Herman Sens which lists the colours of foods, and includes "Potage a la Windsor. Windsor soup (brown)". It does not include the term "Brown Windsor Soup". 1920's There are a tantilising, but tiny, number of references to BWS in adverts from the 1920's and 30's. There are a couple in 1926, the Cadena Cafe of Portsmouth lists "Soup - Tomato or Brown Windsor" on 24 February and David Morton has pointed out an advert in the Hartlepool Mail on the 21st May. The exact phrase does appear a few times in bills-of-fare from the 1950's (eg. Ayton's Restaurant, advertising in The Berwick Advertiser - Thursday 10 March 1955, p10). 1943: There is a, fictional, reference in the novel 'The Fancy' by Monica Dickens, published in 1943, in the line, "he shared a table with a woman whose idea of a suitable four o'clock meal was brown Windsor soup followed by prunes and custard." But the lack of a capital 'B' suggests that what may be meant is a Windsor soup which is depressingly brown, rather than actual Brown Windsor. 1940s: There are a small number (we've found 3) of references to tinned BWS in Scottish and Irish newspapers of the 1940's (eg. Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs - Friday 22 August 1947, p1) and one from England. Odd thing is, these all seem to be one-off's, the adverts are repeated without BWS and we can't find it in any wholesale catalogues. No idea what's going on.
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