You all know what soup is. And you’d be hard pushed to find someone who hates soup, this is because soup is glorious.
But do you know the history of soup? We bet you don’t! We certainly didn’t, which is why we went on a research frenzy to unearth the enigmatic, long, dark history of this liquid foodstuff. Starting off… with the basics!
It’s a liquid foodstuff that’s savoury and consists of vegetables, sometimes with meat. It’s served warm (but some are on the colder side).
Toasted bread is a welcome side serving to go with soup. Innit?
There are so many types of soup we don’t even know where to ruddy well start, but you come up with something and it’ll probably exist. There’s Scottish cullen skink and others like tomato, leek and potato, onion, and all that sort of jazz.
Then there’s the likes of Japan’s miso soup and you’re probably understanding now just… how… varied… soup around the world is.
A Brief History of Soup
Soup’s history is so vast, it basically runs alongside the course of humankind. Way back in pre-history days, with the first bowl of soup (broth) prepared at least 20,000 years ago.
Once humans discovered how to make basic pottery, such as clay pots and mud vessels, this enabled the making of many and varied dishes. Certainly, historical records show soup was a common meal in many civilizations as far back as 6,000 BC.
But the first specific evidence for the foodstuff hails back to the Upper Palaeolithic period—around 50,000-12,000 years back. Archaeologists discovered boiling pits at a Gravettian site. These people established themselves across Europe around 32,000 years ago.
Because microwaves were too expensive back then, what they did was heat cobbles on a hearth. The cobbles were placed into water, which brought water to boil.
From there, they could go ahead and make soup.
Naturally, it wasn’t called soup back then. That word was popularised (as you might have guessed) from the French word “soupe”. That originates from Latin for “suppa”, which means a bread soaked in broth.
In 16th century France, street vendors would sell “restauratiffs” (a tasty broth dish).
From this foodstuff emerged that word we all know and love—restaurants. Yes, then, soup helped inspire the name of many a fabled food haunt over the years. At the time, the dish was even advertised as something of an elixir of life (or at least to cure fatigue).
Truly, this is one of the most defining of foodstuffs.
Soup even managed to stop a 1529 war! There you have it. Soup is a pacifist!
Over the centuries, the dish was refined and popularised worldwide. In the US, the first soup dedicated cookbook emerged in 1882 courtesy of Emma Ewing in Soups and Soup Making.
And in the 18th century, portable soup came to be thanks to boiling seasoned meat untul it turned into a resinous syrup. Chefs could dry the stuff out and store it for months without fear of bacteria swarming all over the thing.
However, the real game changer emerged with the very first tinned soup.
That was in 1895.
And then this bloke called Andy Warhol turned up. His art riffed off the soup tins of the world, particularly the US chain Campbell’s. And this marks a changing point for soup, where it’s now mass produced and so common it reaches the point of banality.
Canned food dates back to 1825, when Thomas Kensett and Exra Daggett patented the concep. But that was to sell… not baked beans!
But canned oysters, fruits, and meats. Some veg was also canned. This was riffed on in the Rockstar video game Red Dead Redemption II. In that world, you can get access to canned foods. Just not really soup.
Which brings us to now.
What do you make of soup? There’s no denying it’s fantastic. It’s one of those foodstuffs so readily available, so ubiquitous, it’s viewed as a bit boring. Why order Soup of the Day when you can get something more exciting?
But the rustic charms of soup remain. Over 20,000+ years it’s travelled a journey with humans. And that’s not stopping anytime soon.
There may eventually be WWIII on the way, and humanity on the brink, but you can bloody well guarantee soup will be there with us during out darkest hour.
Gazpacho Soup is Cold
Thanks to ahead-of-its-time BBC sitcom Red Dwarf, we know gazpacho soup is supposed to be served cold.
Rimmer’s dismal failure in his military efforts highlights that.
Or, if you’ve watched the show, it’s actually down to his neurosis and esteem issue problems. Something he’s desperately keen to avoid acknowledging. All fabulously played out by the underrated Chris Barrie.
As a clip (pretty sure soup isn’t mentioned ever again in Red Dwarf), it’s an indication of this journey the liquid food has taken with humanity. Right into deep space (okay, yes, it’s a TV show) where there’s no escape from its charms.
How Do You Make Soup?
Ermagherd… it’s Mr. Universe himself, the hottest man ever to have lived, the sexiest chef alive… JAMIE OLIVER! Cue hysterical human female screaming.
Mr. Oliver is on hand here with a hearty leek and onion soup concept. But the general list of ingredients you’ll need for any soup are:
Broth of some sort
You can make the broth yourself, if you so wish, or you can buy some readymade stuff from a local supermarket of choice.
One of the benefits of homemade soup is you can cut down on the use of sugar and salt. The latter, in particular, is a menace in modern tinned/readymade soups. Seriously, in some we know a tiny tin can provide half your recommended daily amount of salt.
If you want to die, then keep down the tinned soup route!
But we recommend going homemade, or at least checking the soup you’re buying to ensure you won’t overdose on the salty stuff.
Dear Mr. Moron, Is the below also the origin of the word “Superintendent?”Considering that creating soup requires one’s intent, perhaps that is how it all started.Plus, everyone knows about can dents. Just wondering?Ray Today
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Hi there Raymond. I’d like to think “super” comes from soup, as this would explain the Super Nintendo. Super Aguri. Many things that are super.
Can dents? Cadence? Soup? The tinned soup I buy always has dents in it. Innit. It is wrong, right?