Posted by: Erica Retrochef | February 7, 2011

Shrimp Lamaze

This week’s intriguing history-with-your-tastebuds lesson is from a Campbell’s Soup ad. In addition to creamy tuna salad (cream of celery soup, gelatin, and tuna fish, need I go on?) and ham-macaroni salad, you can apparently make Shrimp Lamaze with a can of tomato soup and a few other ingredients.

Shrimp Lamaze. Blend 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup with 1 cup mayonnaise. Add 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish, 1/2 tsp. grated onion, 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard, and 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Makes about 2-1/2 cups dressing. Serve over cooked shrimp, lettuce wedges, hard-cooked eggs or mixed greens.

At first I had no idea what Shrimp Lamaze was supposed to be; I mean, it’s apparently shrimp in thousand island dressing. Where does the name “Lamaze” come from? I’m not entirely sure. There was a famous restaurant in Los Angeles, Cafe La Maze, founded by “Legendary and influential Restaurateur & Maitre D” Marcel LaMaze. According to this web page, one of its signature dishes was Shrimp Lamaze. According to Wikipedia, Shrimp Lamaze was created at the Philadelphia Warwick Hotel by Johann Lamprecht, and takes its name from George Lamaze — who was Marcel’s brother.

So the dish was definitely a fancy shrimp salad served in both a LA restaurant and a Philadelphia hotel. Most Shrimp Lamaze recipes don’t call for tomato soup, though — they call for chili sauce, a very different flavor in many ways.

One very nice thing about this recipe was that the prep work was minimal — almost nonexistent, really.

(1) Assemble ingredients.

(2) Stir. (And at this point I was annoyed by the very liquid consistency of the dressing — soupy, if you will — so I put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.)

(3) Pour onto shrimp and serve.

After tasting, you’ll probably want to consider including an additional step: (4) Feed it to the dog and order a pizza.

The verdict is that this falls somewhere between “meh” and “disgusting.” If it was very good thousand island dressing on shrimp, I could see it being moderately nice; if this was 1935, I could see it being almost luxurious. But this recipe is a really half-assed version of the dish. You simply can’t make a good dressing starting from tomato soup. It was a runny, bland disappointment. Buzz took one bite and went back to the kitchen to find hot sauce to give it some flavor. Even the kids wanted hot sauce, and they hate spicy food.

Original image of Campbell’s adver-recipe found on Flickr, thanks to SA_Steve.



  1. From my strictly limited experience, a lot of the older recipes are bland. I think the past generation’s palates were not used to spicy (not always hot) flavors, hence the blanding-down of foods.

  2. I was a bit puzzled by how unappetizing this looked. I like thousand island dressing (my dad used to make his own), but there was something about the color of this dish and was a real turn-off to me. I sat there for several minutes while everyone else ate it before I swallowed a piece of shrimp.

    As mentioned, that bite was immediately followed by a trip to the kitchen for Texas Pete’s hot sauce. The whole thing was not very flavorful, including the shrimp. Commercial pre-cooked shrimp are quite bland, and so I didn’t get much of the shrimpy flavor that I so enjoy.

  3. I ate the leftovers for lunch today, and I liked them quite a bit better than the first time around. It’s still not something I would make again, but the flavor of the sauce and the mild shrimp seemed to mesh to makes something mildly appealing or at least palatable. Of course, most of the bites I still augmented with hot sauce, but I used it sparingly.

  4. […] increasingly came out with recipes that called for soup. We’ve visited these before — Shrimp Lamaze, Meatza Pizza, and even Tomato Soup Cake. In general, it only manages to rise to the level of […]

  5. Shrimp Lamaze sounds like something you’d serve at a baby shower! (with that cake made with baby-food fruit as dessert)

  6. Shrimp Lamaize was created by Johan Lamprect while working under a head chef named Lamaize at a Philadelphia hotel (I believe the Warwick), in the 40s or 50s. Apparently it the custom of the time to give credit for whatever was developed to the head chef. Hence the name Lamaize.

    I promise you that Campbells soup was never an ingredient of the sauce. Whoever came up with that is a knuckle head. When made properly, Lamaize does resemble Russian dressing, but a bit spicier and sweeter. I prefer it to cocktail sauce.

    Johan Lamprect went on to own The Blue Bell Inn, which was a thriving steak house under his family’s management for more than 60 years.

    • Thanks for the history — that’s really interesting! I agree that soup shouldn’t be used… and it certainly didn’t seem original! πŸ™‚

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