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Soup is a part of practically every cuisine in the world and is usually eaten as a starter or a complete meal. Made from a variety of ingredients such as meat and vegetables, juice, stock or other liquids, soups can be both of clear and thick. Most cuisines around the world have adapted soup recipes as per their own culinary customs and traditions.

Origin of Soup

The origin of soups can be traced back to 6,000 B.C. and the word soup is derived from the French word soupe also meaning broth. Reference to soup recipes was made as early as the 18th century as evidenced by an American cookbook of 1742, which included several recipes for soups. English cooking was predominant, however, changes started to take place as the influences of new cuisines were felt owing to the immigration of people from other nations. Different kinds of soups gained prominence. The condensed soup was created by Dr. John T. Dorrance in 1897 and after that canned and dried soups gained popularity in the same century.

Popular Ingredients Used in Preparation

The ingredients in soup can be innumerable and of varying kinds. All kinds of vegetables such as cabbage, beans cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions etc. can be added to prepare an excellent bowl of soup. In meats, beef, pork, lamb and even different kinds of seafood and shell-fish are used.

Popular Methods of Preparation

Soups can either be prepared from fresh vegetables and meats or canned or dried ingredients. Most often it is prepared by boiling together a host of ingredients mixed with stock or juice in water, along with flavorings of choice.

Canned Soup or dried soups are instant soups that can be made within minutes. The canned soup needs to be heated and can be consumed immediately while the dried soup needs to be mixed with water and boiled for a couple of minutes before it is relished.

Serving and Eating

Usually eaten as a meal by itself or as an appetizer before the main course, soups are often served in deep bowls. In Southeast Asian countries, the soup portion can be more because usually noodles are mixed with the soup and therefore it is treated as meal in itself.

Types of Soups

The variety of soups available is inexhaustible, as each country has developed their own soup recipes. However, broadly the soups can be classified according to the following categories:

• Traditional Soups: Traditional soups are soups that are specific to a country or a region. Some of the well-known regional soups include Goulash, a Hungarian soup made from beef, paprika and onion. French Onion Soup, a clear soup with beef broth and sautéed onions. Cazuela is a Chilean soup made from a variety of meats and vegetables. Minestrone is an Italian vegetable soup while Miso Soup is a Japanese Soup made from fish broth.

• Dessert Soups:Dessert soups can be enjoyed hot or cold and some of the popular recipes include Ginataan, which is a tapioca soup made in a base of milk and coconut milk with fruits. Tong Sui is a term that is used for Chinese sweet soups.

• Cold Soups: Cold soups as the name suggests are served cold and some of the popular cold soups are Cucumber soup made from cucumbers; sour cherry soup, a cream-based Hungarian soup and tarator a Bulgarian cold soup made from yoghurt and cucumbers.

Special Soup Based Dishes

There are many kinds of special soups and soup dishes and few of the options are listed below:

 Noodle Soup: Noodle soup is a variety of soups that is mixed with noodles and other ingredients and served in a light broth. Noodle soup is part of East and Southeast Asian staple diet.

 Tom Yum Soup: This is a famous Thai soup made with lemongrass and coconut milk. The soup usually contains prawns, fish or a mix of seafood.

 Leek Soup: This soup is particularly popular in Wales and it is made from leeks and potatoes.

 Lentil Soup: This soup is well known in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean region. The soup is prepared from a combination of lentils and it can either be vegetarian or can even be mixed with meat stock or pieces of meat.

Variations of Soups

 Bisque: Bisque is a thick creamy soup made from fish, shellfish or even vegetables and fruits. Some of the most popular bisque recipes are the lobster bisque and crab bisque.

 Chowders: Chowders are soups that contain different kinds of seafood, potatoes, milk and cream. New England Clam Chowder, Manhattan Clam Chowder and Maryland Crab Soup are some of the most famous chowder soup recipes.

 Broth: Broth is made from vegetables that are allowed to simmer for a period of time in a stock. Some of the popular broth recipes include Beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup and fuhn, which is Chinese rice noodles in broth.

Health and Nutrition facts related to Soups

Soups contain a lot of nutritional value and are excellent for one’s overall wellbeing. It is a known fact that chicken soup is the perfect remedy when one is down with cold. A lot of soups are low in fat and even contain low sodium thereby making it the ideal healthy alternative.

Famous Soup Recipes

Some of the most popular soup recipes are as follows:

 Ramen Soup: Japanese noodles in broth.

 Sliced Fish Soup: a soup dish made from fish, prawns and vegetables.

 Cream of Mushroom Soup: a mixture of cream or milk and mushrooms.

Soup Trivia

It is estimated that Americans consume over 10 billion bowls of various kinds of soup every year.