Rumford's Soup

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Rumford's Soup
Region or state
Bavaria
Creator(s) Benjamin Thompson
Main ingredients
Pearl barley, dried yellow peas, potatoes, beer
Cookbook:Rumford's Soup  Rumford's Soup

Rumford's Soup was an early effort in scientific nutrition. It was invented by Count Rumford around 1800 as a ration for the prisoners and the poor of Bavaria, where he was employed as an advisor to the Duke.

As a reformatory measure, the Bavarian government intended to institute workhouses for those on welfare. Rumford's charge was to provide the cheapest possible ration that was still a high-calorie, nutritious food.

Recipe[edit]

  • 1 part pearl barley
  • 1 part dried (yellow) peas
  • 4 parts potato
  • salt according to need
  • Old, sour beer

Slowly boil until thick. Eat with bread.

Rumford's soup is not noted as particularly tasty, but is palatable with long, slow cooking.

Nutrition and modification[edit]

Rumford's soup is low-fat, with high protein and carbohydrate content -- protein from the dried peas, complex carbohydrates from the potato and barley, and simple carbohydrates from the beer. Thus, Rumford's soup was close to the optimum solution to the problem of cheap, nutritious food according to the knowledge of the day. Unfortunately, such knowledge did not extend to vitamins or trace elements. As a result, Rumford's soup was often supplemented by corn or herring to supply Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

History[edit]

Rumford's soup was a common base for inexpensive military rations in Central Europe for much of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

References[edit]

  • Molnár T. B. & Bittera Dóra: A gróf sparheltja (The count's cooking range). Magyar Nemzet, 23 April, 2005.
  • "On the benefits of thermodynamics", [1]