A Closer Look At The History Of Soup

by Helge Vang Andersen

While soup remains a popular dish in the modern home, it has undergone a series of changes since its origins believed to date as far back as 6000 BC. Primarily served as hot or cooled in its liquid form, it is best for winter evenings or as a traditional meal as an immune booster for the common cold. The history of soup is quite intriguing as it remains a desirable starter or main course for any occasion.

Soup is derived from the word "sop" where a thick stew is often soaked with breads and toasts. It is most commonly served in a liquid base that is combined with a range of meats and vegetables prepared in stock. Although it is usually a starter, it can be served as a main meal when developed into a thick, healthy dish.

The introduction of waterproof containers such as clay pots allowed for the boiling of water. It was during this period that people would cook grains, roots, vegetables, and other foods in large bowls. The unique combinations of flavors led to the creation of a tasty dish with the excess liquid drained and often consumed dipped in bread when cutlery was not available.

The Middle Ages saw the increase in the preparation of soups as it became a staple food and was considered most cost effective to feed those suffering from a food shortage. The Renaissance noted the refinement of the meal, served in smaller bowls along with spoons. In the early 1760s a businessman opened an establishment offering a range of flavors and preparation of soups in restaurants.

In 1742, the American William Parks developed a number of thick and hearty combinations in his cooking range of books. Some of the changes in these dishes were noted with the arrival of immigrants in England. It was in 1794 that the first establishment was opened and a pamphlet documenting different recipes released by Emma Ewing in the early 1880s.

The development of portable soups stem from the liquid that would be left behind once meat had finished cooking in water and stock. This mixture could be dehydrated and kept in storage for a lengthy period of time. Today, the modern versions include a wide range of unique combinations that are often served as the first course in restaurants.

The history of soup recognizes the evolution of what has become a popular meal and restaurant specialty. The combinations available make it a desirable alternative including the canned and dehydrated products. It is considered economical, healthy, and easy to prepare for the entire family.

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