Is there anything nicer on a frigid winter day than a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove? And after weeks of holiday excesses, vegetable soups are a welcome return to healthier eating.
When I first read the following recipe, I was disappointed, expecting a watercress soup. Cressy is actually the Anglicized name for Soupe Crécy, named for the small town of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in the carrot-growing region of northern France.
The following recipe comes from Catherine Callbeck Dalgairns, a Scottish woman born on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in the late 1780s. Her father was president of His Majesty’s Council for PEI and owned 20,000 acres of land on the island. Catherine married Peter Dalgairns in 1793. The couple first lived in London and later to Scotland around 1822. Catherine first published her cookbook in Edinburgh in 1829, then published a Boston edition of “The Practice of Cookery Adapted to the Business of Every-day Life” in 1830.
Dalgairns’ cookbook was popular enough to be plagiarized by cookbook writers in New England. It is a mystery why an upper-middle-class woman of the time wrote a cookbook. Most cookbooks were written by women struggling to support a family by writing.
Catherine specified “sweet herbs” and “good, red carrots” in her recipe, which reminds us that orange carrots were once a novelty. When first domesticated in Afghanistan over a thousand years ago, carrots were purple or white. Orange, yellow and red carrots were created by selective breeding.