Ever wondered where the word or even the dish “soup” comes from?
Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make and serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect food choice for all; rich and poor, healthy people and invalids, for the travelers and ‘stay at homes’.
Soup known by many names: stew, gruel, chowder (English), minestrone (Italian), borscht (Russian), sop (German [and Afrikaans!]) and don’t forget the Chinese won ton.
Soups are easily digested and were prescribed for invalids since ancient times. The modern restaurant industry is said to be based on soup. Restoratifs (from where the word “restaurant” comes) were the first items served in public restaurants in the 18th century Paris.
The modern word “soup” derives from the old French word sope and soupe.
When cooks in the Middle Ages spoke of “Soup”, what they really understood was a dish comprising primarily of a piece of bread soaked in a liquid or over which a liquid had been poured. The bread was an important, even vital part of this dish. It was a means by which a diner could consume the liquid efficiently be sopping it up and was an alternative to using a spoon.
Soup takes on many forms, some being as thick as stew or thin as a consomme, which is light but flavourful and some served cold and made of fruit and others piping hot.
Whatever your choice of soup (meat, vegetables, legumes, roots, fish or broth) or even reason for soup – be it the weather, efficient use of excess veggies or using up wilted veggies, know that it is an “ancient” way to fill the body with whole food – slow food – real food.
What better way to create a welcoming atmosphere on a chilly day……. The smell of a pot of nutritious soup bubbling on the stove!
Get creative with some of these recipes: