No-one utters the phrase ‘milk soup’ anymore, which I guess means that no-one makes it. If one did want to make milk soup, one would first of all have to decide on the style of the soup, for it seems that there are several.
In the time of the inimitable Hannah Glasse, author of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747), milk soup was essentially a custard or a custardy bread pudding.
Milk Soup the Dutch Way
Take a quart of milk, boil it with cinnamon and moist sugar; put sippets in the dish, pour the milk over it, and set it over a charcoal fire to simmer, till the bread is soft. Take the yolks of two eggs, beat them up, and mix it with a little of the milk, and throw it in; mix all together, and send it up to table.
One of the early vegetarian medical men included two recipes for milk soup in his book, Dr Allinson’s Cook Book (1915) The first one is a wheatmeal and vegetable puree, the second one ‘for children’ is another milk pudding.
2 onions, 2 turnips, 1 head of celery, 3 pints of milk, 1 pint of water, 2 tablespoons of Allison fine wheatmeal, pepper and salt to taste. Chop up the vegetables and boil them in the water until quite tender. Rub them through a sieve, return the whole to the saucepan, add pepper and salt, rub the wheatmeal smooth in the milk, let the soup simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.
Milk Soup for Children.
1½ pints of milk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoonful of Allinson fine wheatmeal, 1½ oz of sultanas, sugar to taste. Boil 1¼ pints of milk, add the sugar, beat up the egg with the rest of the milk and mix the wheatmeal smooth with it; stir this into the boiling milk, add the sultanas, and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.
For a decidedly savoury option, we have, from Modern Domestic Cookery, and Useful Receipt Book, by William Augustus Henderson (1828.)
Milk Soup with Onions.
Take a dozen of onions, and set them over a stove till they are done without being coloured. Then boil some milk, add to it the onions, and season with salt alone. Put some butter onions to scald, then pass them in butter and when tender add it to the soup and serve it up.
And finally, a soup (or is it a custard?) which can be savoury or sweet at whim, from Food in Health and Disease, by Isaac Burney Yeo (1890)
Vermicelli Milk Soup.
Into a quart of boiling milk put a level saltspoonful of salt (or celery salt); add slowly (stirring constantly) 2 oz. of vermicelli; keep stirring for fifteen or twenty minutes, until quite soft. The yolks of two eggs should be added when the soup is ready to be removed from the fire. This soup may also be flavoured with cinnamon and sugar.
Quotation for the Day.
There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.