turtle soup

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NYNM
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2005/07/24 00:06:23 (permalink)

turtle soup

Just remembered a lovely turtle soup I once has in a small country inn in Berks County, PA (about 40 miles north of Philly). The sort of place you bring your grandmother. The nicest part was that they serve the soup with a small carafe of sherry to pour in it. Can anyone relate?
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    RubyRose
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 00:45:18 (permalink)
    I have had it but not for many years. Do you remember the name of the place? I live very close to Berks County and used to have turtle soup served that way at the Monterrey Inn, which burned to the ground in a fire.
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    NYNM
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 01:02:56 (permalink)
    Sorry, I don't remember. This was about 10 yrs. ago. It was a lovely little place I came across on a roadtrip in some small town, at the crossroads. I wish I'd remembered, I'd go back. The soup is delicious but it still freaks me out that its made from turtles (I think...)
    (I miss Berks County - I used to have a weekend home in Bucks County and would drive all over. Berks County is the REAL Pennsylvania "Dutch" aka German place!! Non touristy, except for Reading; I used to love the small and tiny town discoveries. Are there any Berks County restaurants you recommend?)
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    GordonW
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 01:57:05 (permalink)
    I remember having turtle soup at Smithville Inn, just outside Atlantic City, NJ. The little jug of sherry and the whole thing.

    The stronger memory is my father making turtle soup. Every now and then, he'd get a snapping turtle somehow. There was the whole ritual of butchering and cleaning the turtle, and then on with the soup. Not too complicated a recipe once the turtle was cleaned and the meat taken out.
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    mayor al
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 07:14:48 (permalink)
    I had never had Snapper Soup before we moved to New Jersey in 1972. We lived in Ocean County not far from McGuire AFB, and there were several places that served it on a regular basis. I do remember that we had some great Snapper Soup at 'Charleys Other Brother", a restaurant on the edge of Mt Holly. I really liked that strong very rich and somewhat gamey flavor.

    I would consider Snapper Soup to be a somewhat local or regional specialty dish for that area. I have seen 'Turtle Soup' on menus in other places, but not as common to a region as it is in Central Jersey and Eastern PA.
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    michaelgemmell
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 14:49:58 (permalink)
    Thanks to the Sterns' recommendation, John and I ate at the Bon Ton Café in New Orleans in May, and dinner started with the turtle soup, complete with the sherry on the side. It was heavenly, and things just got better and better from that point!
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    RubyRose
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 15:27:54 (permalink)
    Cab Frey's Tavern in Palm PA usually has snapper soup on the menu but I don't get it that often because their Swiss onion soup is so good (it's creamy, not beefy like French onion soup).
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    NYNM
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 19:14:21 (permalink)
    Hey, I think Cab Frey's is the place I ate at! Palm, PA sound familiar (now, is that like palm in tree or palm in hand?).
    Given that most of the turtle/snapper soup ( with sherry) comes form NJ and PA I wonder where (esp. the sherry part) it originated. Maybe a Pennsylvania German tradition?
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    RubyRose
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/24 19:54:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NYNM

    Hey, I think Cab Frey's is the place I ate at! Palm, PA sound familiar (now, is that like palm in tree or palm in hand?).
    Given that most of the turtle/snapper soup ( with sherry) comes form NJ and PA I wonder where (esp. the sherry part) it originated. Maybe a Pennsylvania German tradition?

    It's quite possible. It's located in eastern Berks Co. and the snapper soup has been on the menu since I started going there in the 70's.

    Many of the old recipes for turtle soup call for sherry and also use veal stock. I think it's a Philadelphia tradition.
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    lleechef
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/25 13:10:31 (permalink)
    Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia has long been famous for their turtle soup. I ate there once and the soup, served with the side of sherry was divine........as was the rest of the meal.
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    chezkatie
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/25 13:13:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia has long been famous for their turtle soup. I ate there once and the soup, served with the side of sherry was divine........as was the rest of the meal.


    That is where I had it for the first time and it was just terrific. I have had it several times since but it has never tasted as good as the first time I had it.
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    tmiles
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/25 16:22:42 (permalink)
    My Dad was almost killed as a kid. He used to catch snappers and sell them for 5cents each. One day a big old lunker turned the tables and tried to grab him and pull him under. He was saved by a passerby. He still has the scar. We have plenty of snappers around here. I don't know if it is legal to catch them in Massachusetts, and I don't know of anyplace that serves turtle around here. I have had cooked sea turtle from a street seller in the far east, but don't really remember what it was like,,,,,,,,,,,or know if it was really turtle. Would I have bought it if they called it "swamp rat"?
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    mr chips
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/25 19:54:25 (permalink)
    I ate turtle soup with sherry at Mandina's in New Orleans, due to the recommendation of the Sterns. It was excellent. My son's pet turtle makes it almost imp[ossible to order that delicacy now.
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    chef joe
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/26 11:08:26 (permalink)
    Many moons ago when I lived in South Philly, most of the diners had turtle soup on the menu, the Oregon, Penrose, Melrose diner, etc and they all served it with the small pitcher of sherry. I had a joint down the shore in North Wildwood in the 70's and turtle soup was one of my top sellers. My buddy worked for a fish company and he'd bring the turtles down from Philly on Friday's. It was an open kitchen and all the kid's would come over to watch me thrown them big snappers into the pot. I'd reduce the stock, strain it through cheesecloth, hand-shred the meat, season it and darken it with kitchen bouquet, but what we always did was chop up the whites of hard cooked eggs and mix them in, this was the way the diners used to do it, it was great. They have really good turtle soup down in the islands and turtle steaks too, their not snappers but green turtles, very tasty.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/26 11:19:56 (permalink)
    I haven't had turtle soup in several years. I never cared much for it till the first time a snapper bit me. The best part of turtle soup is the feeling of revenge when butchering the turtle.
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    mayor al
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/07/28 11:44:41 (permalink)

    Copper, we have played the role of the Rescue Crossing Guard many times...The most noteable was in Arkansas, while on a summer roadtrip we were driving down a wide two lane road..fairly empty area (U S 163 ??) Anyway we 'straddled' a box turtle that was making its way across the road. It took a minute for Jan to focus our rescue thoughts into directions of "Turn around I want to Help the Turtle get across the road before it gets smushed". So I did. I stopped and cautioned Jan to watch for any oncoming cars as they were moving pretty fast. Before she could get even with the turtle a grey Mercedes came zipping down the road (very fast). He attempted to go around the turtle also, and just clipped the very edge of the shell. The impact shot the turtle a good 30 ft off the road and into the embankment off to the side...at about Mach 2.3. We heard the sound of the turtle in the air like an Incoming Motar round!! Jan ran up the shoulder, picked up the turtle and waited until he (I think it was a He) opened up and took a look around. She then put it down (it had crossed the road) and off the little guy went.

    Back to the topic. The only turtles I have heard of being used for meat or soup were the Snapping Turtles. I feel no remorse at using them.They are nasty critters. We lost several kittens to fast moving Snappers and apparently they are consumming ducks on the pond down the street as fast as people can get more ducks onto the pond.
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    GordonW
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/01 14:36:41 (permalink)
    Yep, snapping turtles are mean critters, not to be messed with.

    Not to belabor the jaw power of snapping turtles or the butchering part. But whenever my father got a turtle, the drill was for someone to grab the turtle from the back part of the shell, then someone to grab the turtle's head with long-neck pliers and stretch it out, and then someone to have a nail and a hammer and nail the turtle's head to a board, and then cut off the head. The autonomic reflexes of a snapping turtle are that the head continutes to snap even after it is cut off. That's why the nailed-to-to-the-board part is necessary.

    And yes, I've seen a snapping turtle chase down a lame ducking on the bank and do it in. They can do it.

    And the University of Maryland are the Terrapins. Or "Terps." That's another name for snapping turtles.
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    chef joe
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/02 00:38:38 (permalink)
    Hey Guys, You got me thinking. When I was a kid back in the 50's, the two Miller brothers, Doodles and Ding Dong come down the corner and tell us they have this giant snapper in their yard, the old man, Flat Nose was a longshoreman and worked with my father Wallop and my grand father Moo Cow Plunkett down at Hog Island where they used to laod all the munitions for the navy yard during the war. Anyway, this turtle is in a big galvanized tub when we get to see it and it has a big chunk of broken asphalt on it to keep it from climbing out, of course we let it out to see what's next. This thing is a monster and it's trying to bust through this hole in the fence, so Doodle sticks a piece of pipe in it's mouth, bang - it clams down and now it can't get through the hole because the pipe keeps hitting the side posts, but man o man is it trying. Us kid's are really carrying on shouting and laughing when Peggy Sullivan (he was a guy) shows up with this big pistol in his hand, he didn't know what was going on, he was a retired cop and professional boxer and had been born around 1880, now he's half in the bag waving this 38 around and blam, blam, blam, he nails the snapper but it never let's go of the pipe, we all take off and awhile later Flat Nose shows up and goes down the alley to confront Peggy about putting the ace to the snapper, after the smoke clears, Peggy has knocked him out cold and hauled the turtle up the alley cooked it and fed it to these dogs that he kept. Crazy days and crazy people, wow - what times.
    #18
    V960
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/02 10:54:07 (permalink)
    Guess I'm a throw back to an earlier time. In NC you can't fish for a snapper until July 4th. Booger to clean, there are seven different kinds of meat in one by the way, but well worth all the trouble. Also if you have a pond you MUST get them out to keep fish and ducks around.

    Right tasty fellows. In the east they get to twenty pounds in a year. I'll "turtle" someone elses pond and get fifty pounders.
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    mayor al
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/02 11:09:39 (permalink)

    Chef Joe, That was quite a tale ! I'd say either you are growing some quaint plants in your garden, or you lived in a really 'different' neighborhood back then!

    The Sterns did a write-up of a place just to the West of us here in Southern Indiana where Snapper Soup was on the menu. I'll dig thru the old books and find it to post soon.
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    chef joe
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/02 14:11:28 (permalink)
    Hey Al, That's the way it was, all of them guys are long gone now, but that's only one of a million. South Philly back in the days after WWII was a heck of a place to be raised, more characters than found in any novel, a real melting pot of looney's. There was a saloon on the corner of 3rd & Mifflen, a Lithuanian family owned it, but they called it Kelly's I guess a shortened version of their name. Mom Kelly was the cook and she used to make a soup she called something like CHININNI' it was duck blood soup, I never had it, but them old timers ate it like crazy, also a soup called Vienna soup it had pieces of this great meatloaf in it, had a gravy like consistency and she would put a slice of white bread in the bowl and ladle the Vienna soup over it, absolutley delicious.
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    brookquarry
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/05 14:29:09 (permalink)
    When I was in college in the Philadelphia Suburbs in the late '70s all the local diners served snapper soup as either a regular menu item or a frequent special. It was invariably served with a glass cruet of sherry which you would add to flavor it to your taste- a rather incongruous touch of elegance.
    I developed a taste for it and still occasionally heat up a can- Its available in most supermarkets around us. My wife doesn't like it (more the idea of eating turtle than the taste), so I tend to have it when I'm eating lunch alone.The brand I buy is Bookbinders which is derived from the recepie of the now defunct, legendary Philadelphia seafood restaurant.
    #22
    jeepguy
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/05 15:48:33 (permalink)
    Years ago i had Binyon's turtle soup at Taste of Chicago. It was like a Lobster bisque. No meat at all. A little sherry flavor. On another note, the She Crab soup at The Crab Pot in McClellanville SC is unreal- loaded with local blue crab. If you're ever in the area stop at the general store on the highway and the guy will give you a coupon for a free cup, which was actually a bowl.Great Crab Balls too!!! Sorry to hijack.
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    Hillbilly
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/05 16:25:41 (permalink)
    I had turtle soup with lunch today at the Bon Ton. And finished it off with their fantastic bread pudding.

    During August, most of the finer New Orleans restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.05 (it was $20.04 last year), and dinner for $30.05. It is hot, but what great food!
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    chezkatie
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/05 16:36:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    I had turtle soup with lunch today at the Bon Ton. And finished it off with their fantastic bread pudding.

    During August, most of the finer New Orleans restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.05 (it was $20.04 last year), and dinner for $30.05. It is hot, but what great food!


    Where can one find the list of restaurants? We will be eating lunch in NO at least once and would love to know.
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    Hillbilly
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/08/05 22:23:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chezkatie

    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    I had turtle soup with lunch today at the Bon Ton. And finished it off with their fantastic bread pudding.

    During August, most of the finer New Orleans restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.05 (it was $20.04 last year), and dinner for $30.05. It is hot, but what great food!


    Where can one find the list of restaurants? We will be eating lunch in NO at least once and would love to know.




    Try www.neworleansrestaurantmonth.com
    or
    www.nomcvb.com/restmonth1/

    Bon Ton isn't one of the participants, but their great 3 course lunch (including gumbo or turtle soup, a choice of entrees, the best bread pudding in town and a glass of wine) was less than $21 (I don't remember exactly, but my credit card receipt for 2, including tax and at least 20% tip, was $50).

    #26
    dmancine
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/10/01 16:54:37 (permalink)
    You can find Snapper Soup at the Homestead Inn in the Pocono Mountains,in Crecsco Pa(www.thehomesteadinn.net) The owners are originally fom Philadelphia. It is also served at Snockeys Restaurant in Philadelphia on 2nd and Washington Ave. I am originally from south Philly and whenever I go back I always stop at a seafood store at 13th and Dickinson streets called Ippoloito's. The sell prepared snapper soup in containers. Whenever they have it I always stock upa and take some back home to freeze. It isn't always available and I haven't figured out at what time of the year they do carry it.
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    SWOhioGuy
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/11/08 16:34:56 (permalink)
    Well, guys, I'm enjoying some turtle soup as a write this from my desk at work!

    I bought two quarts of it from Holy Cross Lithuanian Catholic Church in Old North Dayton, during their annual fundraiser. Also got two trays of kugelis, a wonderful dish made with potatos, onions, eggs, and bacon: http://www.gwiv.com/HealthyFood4.jpg

    Great stuff. This very stuff also is available at the deli at Charlie's Imported Meats, also in Old North, which is a roadfood treasure.
    #28
    Scorereader
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/11/09 10:11:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    I had turtle soup with lunch today at the Bon Ton. And finished it off with their fantastic bread pudding.

    During August, most of the finer New Orleans restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.05 (it was $20.04 last year), and dinner for $30.05. It is hot, but what great food!



    I didn't realize department stores still had cafeterias (shows you how often I get to Malls anymore).
    I remember as a kid going downtown to the department stores. I HATED shoopping, but my mother always bought lunch at a department store's cafeteria (eating out was a HUGE treat) and stopping at Fanny Farmer's Candies afterwards for dark and white chocolate covered pretzels.
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    roossy90
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    RE: turtle soup 2005/11/19 21:57:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Scorereader

    quote:
    Originally posted by Hillbilly

    I had turtle soup with lunch today at the Bon Ton. And finished it off with their fantastic bread pudding.

    During August, most of the finer New Orleans restaurants offer a 3 course lunch for $20.05 (it was $20.04 last year), and dinner for $30.05. It is hot, but what great food!



    I didn't realize department stores still had cafeterias (shows you how often I get to Malls anymore).
    I remember as a kid going downtown to the department stores. I HATED shoopping, but my mother always bought lunch at a department store's cafeteria (eating out was a HUGE treat) and stopping at Fanny Farmer's Candies afterwards for dark and white chocolate covered pretzels.



    Been a long time, but on those weekend trips to the malls back in the 60's, and early 70's we used to eat at Burdines or Jordan Marsh Restaurants, and they were always busy as can be....
    This was in Miami, at Dadeland Mall....
    #30
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