Packaged Herbs for Turtle Soup, Crosse & Blackwell

Type of object
Spice box
Great Britain
From 1930 to 1940
2.5 x 7 x 9.5 cm

The idea of packaged herbs for turtle soup causes many 21st-century European consumers to cringe. However, in the 1930s and 1940s, when this box was produced, it played an important role in the cuisine of the British and North American upper classes. Turtle soup was considered a delicacy.

After the English discovered this dish in the Caribbean during the 18th century, it became so popular that transatlantic trade of live green turtles rose sharply to meet the demand in Europe. Crosse & Blackwell, a major English company, marketed products for preparing the soup, such as this mixture of sage, basil, rosemary, lemon balm, savoury, thyme, marjoram and chervil. Today turtle soup is eaten in Asia, the Caribbean and parts of North America. In the UK today, this mixture is just used to season mock turtle soup – made of calf’s head and a sauce prepared with these herbs.