The creoles pride themselves upon their famous Soupe a la Tortue; and justly, the old saying that only a good Creole cook knows how to make a good Turtle Soup being testified to by epicurean visitors from every country.
The following is one of the simplest and best ways to make Turtle Soup — a recipe that may always be relied upon, and one that has been used from generation to generation in the most aristocratic Creole homes:
In making Turtle Soup, Green Turtle is always the best for this purpose. Select two pounds of Green Turtle meat, if the Turtle is not bought whole. This amount will make a Soup for six persons. Increase proportionately. If the Turtle is bought whole, first cut off the head. To do this properly, the Turtle should be hung with the head downwards, and a very sharp knife should be used to cut off the head as close as possible. Often, for hours after this operation is performed, the Turtle will exhibit extraordinary signs of life, the flesh quivering constantly. To remove the shells, first separate the upper from the lower shell, being exceedingly careful to avoid touching the gall bladder, which is very large. If penetrated, the contents running over the Turtle meat would render it utterly unfit for use.
Clean the Turtle by washing thoroughly in cold water. Then put the meat and entrails into a saucepan and parboil about ten minutes. Be careful to save this stock of water. Chop an onion very fine, and the ham into very fine pieces. Cut the Turtle meat into one-inch pieces, mash the cloves and the allspice very fine and chop the thyme and bay leaf. Brown the onions in