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*    Portable Soup

Portable soup seems to have lots of discussion on it contents, after doing some research this is what I found documented.

In the book "Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery" by
Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns -ISBN 0-679-45450-0 on page 10 (half way down
the page).

"Besides these crash courses in science, Lewis spent his time in
Philadelphia acquiring supplies-and going through most of the $2,500
Congress had appropriated. He bought compasses, quadrants, a telescope, and a chronometer (costing $250) needed to calculate longitude. For the camp supplies, he purchased 150 yards of cloth to be oiled and sewn into tents and sheets; pliers, chisels, handsaws, hatchets, and whetstones; an iron corn mill and two dozen tablespoons; mosquito curtains, 10-1/2 pounds of fishing hooks and fishing lines, 12 pounds of soap-and 193 pounds of "portable soup", a thick paste concocted by boiling down beef, eggs, and vegetables, to be used if no other food was available on the trail."

" "The Journal of Lewis & Clark" by DeVoto, "Lewis & Clark; Pioneering Naturalists" by Cutright, "Lewis & Clark's Return" by Nasatir, "Lewis & Clark & the Image of the American Northwest" by John Allen, "An American Journey - Lewis & Clark" by Thorp and "Lewis & Clark's Plans & Preparations" by Jones.

"In all of these books I found only two of them that made reference to
"portable soup", those being "An American Journey - Lewis & Clark" by Thorp and "Lewis & Clark's Plans & Preparations" by Jones.

With the answer to your question according to these sources are:

1. "An American Journey - Lewis & Clark" - [150 pounds (68kg) of "portable soup" - a dried or condensed soup - as emergency rations, ....]

2. "Lewis & Clark's Plans & Preparations" - [carried a "portable soup", a paste concocted by boiling down meat, bird eggs, and foraged vegetables,].

I will still look at the "Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition" by Arno now that you have started my interests again after
leaving the subject lie for several years. I will also check my files when I still owned "Clark & Sons Mercantile"

"One of the best research books on this time period is straight from the
horses mouth; "Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book" by Edwin Morris Betts - published by the American Philosophical Society 1944, covers from 1766 - 1824."

As a last resource I looked in "Only One Man Died" [Medical Aspects of the Lewis & Clark Expedition] by Eldon G. Chuinard, M.D. Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield, Wash. [23] Now I have hit pay dirt for the term "portable soup", no wonder I could not find it's substance, Lewis only listed the amount and how it was carried, he or Clark DID NOT give any list of the substance or recipe to make this item. Seems what others have written is what the military of the time used under the direction of "Nurses and Orderly Men". "An important purchase also made by Isabel Wheelen for Lewis was "193 lb.. of Portable Soup." This portable soup was contained in lead canisters [24] and may have been either a dry powder or a thick liquid substance.

There is no known record to the portable soups used by armed forces at the time. Cutbush describes the preparation of a portable soup, or "Tablettes de bouillon (Under Direction to Nurses and Orderly Men for the Preparation of the diet, &c. for the sick.)":

"Take calves' feet, 4; the lean part of a rump of beef 12 pounds; fillet
of veal 3 pounds; leg of mutton 10 pounds. These are to be boiled in a
sufficient quantity of water and the scum taken off. When the meat becomes very tender, the liquor is to be separated from it by expression; and when cold, the fat must be carefully taken off. The jelly-like substance must then be dissolved over the fire and clarified with five or six whites of eggs. It is then to be salted to the taste and boiled down to the consistency of paste, when it is poured out on a marble table and cut into pieces, either round or square, and dried in a stove room. Then perfectly hard, they should be put up in close vessels of tine or glass. Powered rice, beans, peas, barley, celery, with any grateful aromatice may be added; but for the use of the sick it should be made plain. It may be simply made either of beef, mutton, or veal". [25]

Lewis wrote from Fredricktown on April 15, 1803, to General William Irvine regarding the preparation of portable soup for the Expedition. [26] The soup was prepared by Francois Baillet, cook at 21 North Ninth street, Philadelphia, who presented a bill on May 30, 1803, for 193 pounds of Portable soup in the amount of #289.50. [27] The soup was ready in plenty of time and Lewis receipted for it [28] and took it with him overland to Pittsburgh, where he was to embark on the Ohio River. DeVoto [29] called the portable soup an army experimental iron ration. hardly a correct description; iron was contained in the meat...
[23] Chuinard "Only One Man Died", pp. 160-161.
[24] Lewis specifically mentions the portable soup being contained in
"canisters" in his note of Sept. 18,1805; also in his list of supplies he
includes "32 cannisters of P. Soup," Thwaites, Journals, vii, p. 239.
[25] Cutbush, "Preserving the Health, pp. 314-15.
[26] Gen. William Irvine (1741-1804) was a physician and supt. of military
stores with headquarters in Philadelphia.
[27] Jackson, "Letters", p.28.
[28] "Ibid.", p.82.
[29] DeVoto, "Course of Empire", p.505.

This is interesting as to which source is correct, several got the amount
the same, as far as to its real content - guess thats up to what book you
use as reference> This should close the matter of "portable soup".



(Serves 8)

2 tablespoons Oil

1-1/2 cups Pearled Barley

2 fresh Onions, chopped (or equivalent dehydrated)

2 stalks fresh celery (or equivalent dehydrated)

4 cups Water

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (or equivalent dehydrated)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or equivalent dehydrated)

Salt or Soy Sauce

Saute barley, onions, and celery for 5-minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour or so. Saute mushrooms and add to soup. Season to taste with soy sauce or salt. Garnish with parsley.

Buck Conner



(Serves 8)

5 cups boiling Water

2 cups dry Pinto Beans

Add the beans to the water. Cover tightly and simmer on low heat 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until tender. Beans should not be seasoned until after they are tender. Then add salt, chili powder, chopped onions and a little oil. Simmer a little while longer.



(Yields 6 cups)

4 cups cooked beans, and thick juice from cooking

2 cups water or stock

2 Tablespoons lime juice (if available)

4 Teaspoons oil

2 small fresh onions, chopped (or equivalent dehydrated) 1 to 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer all ingredients until thick. Garnish just before serving with chili powder.


*    Johnny Soup

This was a common soup and a favorite of the "Bucktails" of Pennsylvania and Gen. A.Wayne’s Lennie Lenape (Delaware) scouts.

(8) oz. dried lentils, (3) cups water, (1) chopped onion, (1/2) teaspoonful of black pepper and (2) cloves of garlic. Salt to taste, fry bacon pieces - add to taste. Johnny cakes or biscuits cut into small cubes for a filler. Add nuts, rye or rice to make it go farther. Wash and clean lentils, put in a large pot to cook with (3) cups of water (cover lentils by an inch). Medium heat / add garlic, onion and pepper, let simmer for one hour. Add bacon pieces and salt to taste. Put cubes into broth at time of serving. If adding rice or rye cook until they are soft.

Sgt. John Yellowman,Lenape,1761 Pennsylvania Gazzet,1765


*    Smith Bean Soup

Smith bean soup with red onion strips and a tart apple (sliced into small pieces) work great. The Rev. War cooks used Granny Smith or Winesap apples, when available, in many of their dishes, an attempt to break up an otherwise bland diet for Officers and the Enlisted men.

Lenape Cookbook,1781


*    Gourd Soup (Civil War)

The gourds should be full-grown, but not those with hard skin; slice three or four, and put them in a stew pot, with (2) or (3) onions and a good bit of butter; set them over a slow fire till quite tender (be careful not to under cook). Stir to keep from sticking to sides of pot and make sure the soup is well done, season as needed.

Mrs. Ellet, The Practical Housekeeper,1857


*    Court Bouillon (F & I War)

Court Bouillon is used for boiling fresh water fish or others which are without much flavor. It may be prepared before hand and used several times, or the vegetables may be added at the time the fish is boiled.

Fry in (1) tablespoonful of butter, (1) chopped onion, (1) chopped carrot, (1) stalk of celery. Then add (2) quarts of hot water, (1) cup of vinegar or wine, (3) peppercorns, (3) cloves, (1) bay-leaf and (1) teaspoonful of salt. This is a good base for seafood soup according to the local tavern owners.

Mr. L. C. Connor, Phila Bulletin,1718

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Until next time, we leave as friends and followers of those that went before us.

Buck Conner 

"One who trades”

"Uno quién negocia"

“Unqui commerce”