31 October, 2012

Review: Dominique's Snapper Turtle Soup

My only previous experience with turtle soup was the poem in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland:

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green, 
Waiting in a hot tureen! 
Who for such dainties would not stoop? 
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup! 
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

So, you can see that I'm totally unqualified to review this stuff in comparison to any other canned or homemade turtle soup (not that that's ever stopped me from reviewing anything else I've found on a grocery store shelf.)

Anyway, as a total Snapper Turtle Soup N00b, I had no idea what to expect. I read the ingredient panel and found stuff like beef stock, celery, carrots, wine, and snapper turtle meat and figured it couldn't be all that bad. So I gambled a couple of bucks and bought a can to give it a try.

Dominique's Snapper Turtle Soup is condensed, so it requires the addition of one can-measure of water before heating. I opened up the can and poured the soup out into a saucepan to find a thick, gelatinous glob the consistency of slightly warming Jell-O, which dropped into the pan with a wet slap. I added the canful of water and stirred with little effect - the brown glue just didn't want to combine with the water. Eventually, I was able to stir it together and put it over the fire. I heated and stirred, but the soup never thinned out. (I've found out since then that snapper turtle soup is supposed to be thick like a gravy, so I guess that's the way it was actually intended to be.)

Mon dieu.
With the soup heated up and ready to eat, I sat down to try it out. It was, in a word, disgusting.

It was thicker than gravy, brown and viscous, swimming with tiny bits of what were probably vegetables, and small squares of spongy, flavorless meat which I think was supposed to be turtle. The flavor was sickening - slightly sour, as though they used the cheapest industrial-cleaning-fluid-grade wine they could find. It took a concerted effort to eat more than the first couple spoonfuls, but it didn't take me long to just give up.

Personally, I would never buy this again. And if this is an example of what snapper turtle soup is like, I'd never order it out, either.



DrunkethWizerd said...

Huh. Perhaps they should have added some MSG.

Stephanie/Sproffee said...

I had turtle soup all of one time in China (served with the turtle shell in the bowl to remind me of what animal I was eating...as is the Chinese way). It was served along with a ton of other dishes, including sparrow, so I don't remember anything specific about it. Other than that it was a clearer, more brothy soup. And that I liked it. Maybe check out a Chinese turtle soup next time...if such a thing can be found nearby?

Sir Yobgod Ababua the Handless said...

Growing up we used to get Snapping Turtle Soup on special occassions and I always loved it. It is thick, but usually in a good "cold winter's night" sort of way. Traditionally you add a tablespoon of Sherry to brighten it up.

(I don't remember the brand we would get, but I did grow up in Philly which a quick search seems to indicate is actually known for their turtle soup...)

I'd suggest that you blame the brand and not the dish.

NinBazi said...

I've never heard of turtle soup until now

Unknown said...

Fisher's restaurant in Philadelphia used to have turtle soup on the menu but my parents would never let me order it, either for conservation reasons, because they thought I wouldn't eat it, or that I would spew it all over the bedroom later that night (remembering "the Kumquat Incident" from one of our Chinese restaurant excursions).

Richard said...

I enjoy snapper turtle soup and have tried both Dominiques and Book Binders. I prefer Dominiques by far. Those that haven't tried it should but the taste seems to be either a love-it or hate-it thing. Dominiques has been becoming difficult to find and I'm not sure why, endangered species maybe ?