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Soup is a savoury liquid food that is made by combining ingredients, such as meat, vegetables and beans in stock or hot water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of pouches made of clay or animal skin) about 5,000 years ago (possibly longer), so soups presumably were little-known before that time.

Over the centuries, the terms gruel and potage have become separated from broth and stock (and their refinement, consommé). The language may have shifted over time, but the modern definitions of soup and stew were established in the 18th century: soups usually are more liquid; stews are thicker, containing more solid ingredients. Stews are cooked in covered containers for longer periods of time, at a gentle boil with less water and at a lower heat.

Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consommé. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter and cream. Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grain.


[edit] Early history

The word soup originates from the Teutonic word suppa, which refers to a Medieval dish consisting of a thick stew poured on slices of bread, called sop, used to soak up the liquid. Often described as potages, French onion soup is an example of a modern soup that retains this bread sop.

The word restaurant was first used in France in the 16th century, to describe a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors called restaurer, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in restaurers. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant to describe the shops.

In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1742, based on Eliza Smith's Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion and it included several recipes for soups and bisques. A 1772 cookbook, The Frugal Housewife, contained an entire chapter on the topic. English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Boston called Restorator, and became known as "The Prince of Soups." The first American cooking pamphlet dedicated to soup recipes was written in 1882 by Emma Ewing: Soups and Soup Making.

Portable soup was devised in the 18th century by boiling seasoned meat until a thick, resinous syrup was left that could be dried and stored for months at a time. The Japanese miso is an example of a concentrated soup paste.

Today, according to the Campbell Soup Company, chicken noodle soup is one of the most popular soups in America. It is considered by many an effective remedy for the common cold, and is sometimes referred to as "Jewish penicillin" (a reference to the stereotypical fondness of American Jews for chicken soup).

[edit] Commercial soup

Commercial soup became popular with the invention of canning in the 19th century.

Image:Vegetable beef barley soup.jpg
Vegetable beef barley soup

[edit] Dessert soups

[edit] Fruit soups

Fruit soups are served hot or cold depending on the recipe. Many recipes are for cold soups served when fruit was in season during hot weather. Some like Norwegian 'fruktsuppe' may be served hot and rely on dried fruit such as raisins and prunes and so could be made in any season. Fruit soups may include milk, sweet or savoury dumplings, spices, or alcoholic beverages like brandy or champagne.

Cold fruit soups are most common in Scandinavian, Baltic and Eastern European cuisines while hot fruit soups with meat appear in Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines. Fruit soups are uncommon or absent in the cuisines of the Americas, Africa and Western Europe. They are also not seen in Japan, Southeast Asia or Oceania.

  • Winter melon soup is a Chinese soup, usually with a chicken stock base. It is a savory soup, often including other vegetables and mushrooms. Technically, the winter melon is a fruit, since it is a seed bearing body, but in practical use, it is a vegetable. (see cucumber) Winter melon soup is often presented as a whole winter melon, filled with stock, vegetables and meat, that has been steamed for hours. The skin is decoratively cut, so that what is presented is a decorative centerpiece, smaller than a medicine ball, larger than a soccar ball, filled with soup. The flesh of the mellon is scooped out with the soup.
  • Sour soup (fish soup) is a Vietnamese dish made with rice, fish, various vegetables, and in some cases pineapple.

[edit] Asian soups

Main article: Asian soup

A feature of East Asian soups not normally found in Western cuisine is the use of tofu in soups. Many traditional East Asian soups are typically broths, clear soups, or starch thickened soups. Many soups were eaten and drunk as much for their flavour as well as for their health benefits.

[edit] Traditional regional soups

Image:Romanian potato soup.jpg
Romanian potato soup

[edit] Soup as a figure of speech

In the English language, the word "soup" has developed several phrasal uses.

  • Alphabet soup is a term often used to describe a large amount of acronyms used by an administration, and has its roots in a common tomato-based soup containing pasta shaped in the letters of the alphabet.
  • Primordial soup is a term used to describe the organic mixture leading to the development of life.
  • A soup kitchen is a place that serves prepared food of any kind to the homeless.
  • Pea soup describes a thick or dense fog.
  • "Stone soup" is a popular children's fable.
  • Duck soup is a term to describe a task that is particularly easy.
  • Shrimp Gumbo is a kind of soup spoken of by Benjamin Buford Blue in the film Forrest Gump.
  • Soup can also be a nickname, which comes from the band Bowling for Soup.

[edit] Soup in popular culture

[edit] See also

[edit] Literary references

  • Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food (2002). New York: Free Press ISBN 0-7432-2644-5
  • Larousse Gastronomique, Jennifer Harvey Lang, ed. American Edition (1988). New York: Crown Publishers ISBN 0-609-60971-8
  • Morton, Mark. Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities (2004). Toronto: Insomniac Press ISBN 1-894663-66-7

[edit] External links

  • Solley, Patricia G. (1997) Soupsong. Retrieved January 8, 2004.
  • International bibliography about soups [1]ca:Sopa

da:Suppe de:Suppe eo:Supo es:Sopa fi:Keitto fr:Soupe he:מרק id:Sup ja:スープ lt:Sriuba nl:Soep (voedsel) pl:Zupa pt:Sopa ru:Суп simple:Soup sr:Супа sv:Soppa tr:Çorba zh:汤


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