Alexis Soyer claimed that a meal of his soup once a day, together with a biscuit was sufficient to sustain the strength of a strong healthy man. Not everyone agreed. He was somewhat ridiculed in Punch, where it was said that Soyer's soup was not Soup for the Poor, but rather, Poor Soup!
Here is the recipe he published:
12-1⁄2 lbs leg of beef
100 gallons of water
6-1/4 lbs drippings
100 onions and other vegetables
25 lbs each of flour (seconds) and pearl barley
1-1/2 lbs brown sugar
9 lbs salt
So, lets see. If you divide the ingredients by 50 to put things in a more graspable framework, you'll quickly say, "where's the BEEF?"
4 oz. or 1/2 cup Beef
8 quarts water
2 oz. or 1/4 cup drippings
8 oz. or 1 cup flour 8 oz. or 1 cup barley
1/2 oz. or 1 tsp. brown sugar
3 oz or 1/3 cup salt
I have tried this soup recipe two ways: The first interpreted the soup as a beef and barley soup, with nicely browned sliced onions in the thickened broth. I added a diced carrot, an enhancement, but rather modest. Bay leaf and pepper would have helped, but I refrained. The soup was a bit thin in flavor, but not what I would call "poor" at all. Browning the onions and meat with the sugar actually did bring out more flavor than I thought possible. A second version was faithful to the ingredients list, but the presentation was a bit different. Instead of thickening the soup with a flour-drippings roux, I used the flour, some drippings. a bit of the broth and an egg to make little flour dumplings. The soup was a broth made from the browned onions and meat, thickened slightly by the barley, with lots of small dumplings in each serving. Both versions were better than Campbells!