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The Scoop on Soup

We often associate autumn with getting cozy and tucking into warm blankets in front of the fireplace or eating bowls of hot soup at the kitchen table. Huddled close together and over the bowls, we eat quickly to ensure we are getting as much warmth from the dish as possible, but not so quickly that we burn our mouths! Soup can act as a side dish or an entrée. It is either quickly thrown together or painstakingly assembled through careful ingredient preparation and cooking methods. No matter how you make soup, it’s sure to bring some warmth into your life.

From the richness of the Northeast Seafood Corn Chowder , to a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo or the spicy kick of a Southwestern Chicken Tortilla or Taco soup the variety of soup recipes is vast and plentiful. You don’t have to be a master in the kitchen to experiment with wholesome ingredients and fantastic flavors to create an exciting, satisfying soup.

The fall means fresh squash, pumpkins, and potatoes, all ingredients that become popular bases in thick, creamy soups and stews. Add intensity and complexity to these dishes with herbs, spices, and seasoning blends and further enhance the flavor of a beautifully ripe vegetable-based soup or stew.


Why Do We Call It Soup?

There are a few different possible explanations on how the word “soup” entered our lexicon. First, is the Latin word “suppa” which translates to “bread in broth.” This word would have been used in ancient Rome and passed down and thus changed over time as it was borrowed and used in other languages. Another path comes from the Germanic word “sop,” or a bread that was used to soak up the liquid in other foods. Food historians also lean toward a third potential explanation- that English speakers took this word directly from the French word “soupe,” which translates to “broth” or “soup.” This theory is widely thought to be the most likely for an accurate origin for the word “soup” in the English language.


What is the Story of Stone Soup?

A popular child’s tale, the story of stone soup is one of the importance of sharing, especially during times of hardship for others. The story goes like this. Some people were wandering from town to town, and they were hungry so they sat down and filled a pot with water, placing a single stone at the bottom of the pot. Eventually a curious villager came over and asked what they were doing, so they responded “making stone soup!” The villager provided a carrot for their soup, and as more curious villagers showed up and contributed ingredients, a soup was made, and the stone was fished out.

The other form of the story of stone soup comes to us from Oaxaca, Mexico, where many of their food traditions have survived into present day. This includes stone soup, a dish made by almost exclusively by men. Where the dish originated, it was eaten by the banks of the river by fishermen. Rocks would be picked from the river and heated over a fire, while the soup was prepared in natural divots of the surrounding rocks. This is largely how stone soup is still made today, with the regular ingredients of seafood and vegetables also remaining unchanged from traditional stone soup recipes. As it once was in the past, it still is today. The stones are heated in a fire then when they are hot enough, they are deposited into the soup, instantly bringing the temperature of the soup up and cooking the ingredients rapidly. This is a quick, efficient way to make soup, especially for fishermen who don’t want to lug a pot around with them to riverbanks. While it has been traditionally done by riverbanks, today there are a handful of restaurants that offer stone soup on their menu. Even at restaurants, it is still prepared the same way


What Was the First Soup Ever Made?

Some theorists circulating the internet claim that the first soup ever made was comprised of hippopotamus meat, a variety of vegetables, and lentils. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory. The history of soup is likely as long as the history of cooking, depending on how loose a definition you are willing to accept for what soup is, exactly. Combining a bunch of readily available ingredients into a pot of hot water to be easily digested was basically inevitable from the advent of cooking, as it was simple to do and even more simple to eat. Food historians tend to think that the first evidence of soup comes to us from over 20,000 years ago, from remnants in a cave in China. This cave housed pottery that was charred with evidence of being used over a flame. What exactly the contents of the pots were is still unknown, but it’s not a stretch to guess that it may have been some type of alcohol or food, with soup being a strong contender.

Soup would have also played an important role in society during times of scarcity, as soup could be made to really stretch if need be. A thin soup was better than eating nothing, and so adding just a bit more water to a cooking soup was an excused and in fact encouraged behavior. Large families in the Middle Ages would often rely on soup to provide sustenance to the whole crowd. Soup could also be made from just about anything, from scraps of meat or leftovers from other meals. One could simply dump some loose vegetables and a bone or two into the water and let it cook for a while, the flavors of the ingredients mingling with the water to make a nice broth.


What is Pocket Soup?

“Pocket Soup” was invented in the 18th century. Little packets of dehydrated ingredients were secured in pouches that could be carried in the pocket of a traveler or worker and rehydrated with some water to make soup quickly! This kind of soup was a precursor to modern day condensed soups.


What Are Some Good Soup Recipes?

We are very partial to making soups and stews with our herbs, spices, and seasonings because we love having good, all around delicious flavors. This is much more easily achieved through the use of quality ingredients, spices included. Here are some of our favorite soups that you can easily make at home!

You have a plethora of souper interesting information about soup now, so go forth and use it! Maybe you’ll need these facts at a trivia night, or you will have found a recipe you want to make tonight. This comfort food has a long history of keeping people happy and keeping bellies full. The best part about soup is that there’s a flavor for everyone! You just can’t go wrong with soup.


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