The origins of 'Soup'
The history of soup dates back thousands of years to early human civilizations, where it was a simple combination of ingredients such as grains, vegetables, and meat simmered in water. The earliest historical suggestion dates back to 20,000 BC. Archaeologists whom discovered ancient pottery in the Xianrendong cave in China advised that pots must have been making hot soup due to the evidence of scorch marks. It is believed that cooks would dig a hole in the ground lined with animal skin and boil the soup with hot stones. The concept of soup has evolved over time and has been influenced by different cultures and cuisines, leading to a diverse range of soups across the world, each with its own unique ingredients, preparation methods, and flavour profiles. From classic vegetable soups, to hearty stews, to creamy bisques (rich shellfish soup usually made of Lobster). Soups have remained a staple food in many cultures, offering comfort, nourishment, and versatility.
Soup Vs Consommé
Soup and consommé are both liquid dishes, but there are some key differences between them:
Soup is a dish made from a combination of ingredients such as vegetables, meats, grains, and/or legumes, simmered in a flavourful broth. A consommé, on the other hand, is a clear soup made from a highly concentrated broth that is clarified and strained to remove any solid elements.
Soup is usually made by boiling ingredients in water or stock, while consommé is made by first simmering the ingredients in a mixture of water, meat, and vegetables to make a flavourful broth, which is then clarified and strained to produce a clear liquid.
Soup can have a complex, rich flavour profile, while consommé has a cleaner, more delicate flavour due to its lack of solid particles.
In summary, soup is a hearty, comforting dish made from a variety of ingredients, while consommé is a clear soup made from a highly concentrated broth.
Royals that loved 'Soup'
Queen Victoria, who ruled the United Kingdom (1837 to 1901) was known to have loved soup. Soup was a staple food in her household and was served regularly at meals. She particularly enjoyed clear soups such as consommé, and it was said that she would have a bowl of soup every day for lunch. Her love for soup was part of her reputation for being a simple and down-to-earth monarch who valued good, nutritious food.
King Henry IV of France (1553-1610) was also known to have loved soup. He was famous for his hearty appetite and his love of simple, nourishing food, and soup was one of his favourite dishes. It was said that he would often stop at local inns during his travels and request a bowl of soup to sustain him. His love for soup was part of his reputation for being a monarch who was in touch with the everyday needs and wants of his people.
As eating habits and ingredients changed in Italy, so did minestrone. ‘Apicius’ innovated the pultes and pulticulae with fancy trimmings such as cooked brains and wine.
The tradition of not losing rural roots continues today, and minestrone is now known in Italy as belonging to the style of cooking called "cucina povera" meaning "poor kitchen", where dishes have rustic, provincial roots, as opposed to "cucina nobile", the cooking style of the aristocracy and nobles.
Minestrone actually means big soup. In reality it often differs depending on the region and the seasons. It can be thicker full of vegetables and pasta or a more watered-down version with less ingredients.
Some of the most notable soup traditions include:
Russian Borscht: A classic beetroot soup that is hearty and filling, often served with sour cream and bread. It can be served hot or cold and is often served more as a beverage than a meal.
French Onion Soup: A savoury soup made from caramelized onions, beef broth, and croutons, topped with melted Gruyère cheese.
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup: A spicy and sour soup made with ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu, and vinegar.
Vietnamese Pho: A herby and spicy broth with meat and noodles typically eaten for breakfast.
Japanese Miso Soup: A light and comforting soup made from fermented soybean paste, dashi (Japanese broth), and various ingredients such as tofu and seaweed.
The origin of butternut squash soup is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in North America. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that is native to the Americas and has been a staple food in Native American cuisine for thousands of years. The use of butternut squash in soup is thought to have become popular in the United States and Canada in the late 20th century as a way to exploit this versatile vegetable.
Today, butternut squash soup is a popular dish in many cultures, and variations can be found around the world, incorporating different flavours and ingredients. Whether it's a simple, creamy soup made with just a few ingredients, or a more complex recipe with spices and herbs. See recipe here.
Persian Soup Blend
Advieh Ash is a traditional Persian spice mix for soups. The name "Advieh ash" translates to "spiced soup" in English. In Iranian cooking, Advieh ash is a less intense flavour of the aromatic blends “Advieh-E Khoresh and Advieh Berenj”. Advieh Ash is herbier with heavier notes of Fenugreek leaves (Methi) which gives the blend a nuttier flavour.
Advieh Ash although traditionally used for soups can also be used in stews and savoury rice dishes. The other Persian spice mixes of “Advieh-E Khoresh and Advieh Berenj” are more aromatic due to the rose petals, cardamom and turmeric giving a more intense depth in flavour.
Cold Soup for warmer days
Cold soup is not a common type of soup in the UK or Ireland. Traditionally it is served chilled, rather than hot. There are many different types of cold soup, ranging from simple and refreshing fruit soups like ‘Watermelon soup’ to more complex and flavourful vegetable and meat-based soups. Some popular cold soups include gazpacho, a tomato-based soup with vegetables and spices, vichyssoise, a creamy leek and potato soup. Cold soups are often served in the summer as a way to refresh and cool down, but they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. They are typically made by blending the ingredients together and then refrigerating the soup until it is chilled. Some cold soups are served with garnishes such as croutons, herbs, or sour cream.
Soup origins and traditions are said to go back as far as the invention of arithmetic from the period of 20,000 BC. Fundamentally it transpires that soup is not jut for the autumn and winter season and thus it can be enjoyed hot or cold all year around.