January Natuional Soup Month


Sometimes there's nothing quite so comforting as a bowl of soup. In winter, it warms us and often provides medicinal value when we are sick.  In summer, chilled fruit or veg
etable soups are the perfect accompaniment for light meal such as an entrée salad. 

Who invented soup? It's common knowledge that the word soup comes from the same source as the English term "sop," meaning a piece of bread soaked in liquid. In common parlance, soup replaced sop at about the same time that people began serving the heated liquid without the ever-present piece of bread (approximately one-hundred years after Catherine de Medici arrived in France with her entire kitchen in tow and proceeded to transform the world of French cuisine). 
However, it's likely that people have been enjoying some version of meat cooked in heated water since the days when Prehistoric man was forced to stalk and kill his dinner before he could even think about cooking it. 
The origins of boiling are lost to history.

Nonetheless, in The History of Food, Raey Tannahill states that it's clear man knew about boiling long before the invention of earthenware pottery (around 6,000 BC). Ever inventive, prehistoric man found that bamboo trees filled with clay, reptile shells, and especially the stomachs from the animals they had killed, all made perfect vessels in which to boil liquid filled with fresh meat over a hot fire. When nothing else was available, they could always resort to the more time consuming method of filling a pit with water and throwing in a few stones heated from the fire to bring the water to a boil. Various evidence, including residue sticking to pots, tells us man was regularly consuming soup by the Iron and Bronze Ages.
The Africans, Greeks and Ancient Romans ate soup, including a type of fish broth cooked in wine and spices.

Today, the world of soup is vast and sophisticated. There are thick soups such as bouillabaisse that nearly cross the line from soup to stew, thin clear consommés, and everything in-between.
Nearly all cultures have their own specialties: a bold Russian borscht, hearty African Peanut Soup, garlicky Spanish gazpacho, and Pot-au-Feu, a French clear soup made from boiled beef and vegetables or a Chinese Noodle soup. Soup can be a meal in itself, an appetizer, or a dessert. And we can't forget that most soups are quick and simple to make comfort foods.

Soups On!
Enjoy a cup of Soup and Learn the components of a flavorful soup.

January 12, 2013   2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Overbrook Arts Center 
6134 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19151

A Soup Puzzle

1. Clear soup of meat or fish & vegetables, flavored with salt, soy and dashi
5. A hearty North African soup, 'cobra cooler'
7. A Chinese soup with deep fried rice cakes
10. What soup is eaten from
11. Soup with green peas
12. Thai egg noodle soup with cilantro, scallions & chicken or seafood
14. Frequent ingredient in cheese soup
15. Scotland: Crab soup
17. A seaweed extract; Bengal isinglass
20. Hawaiian noodle soup
21. French version of pesto is also the name of this soup
22. Member of mallow family from Africa useful in soups and stews
23. A ribbonlike strip of pasta
24. Powdered sassafras leaves used to thicken soups & stews
2. E Indian curry-flavored soup with a meat or chicken base
3. A small piece of toasted or fried bread; served in soup or salads
4. A Greek soup made with dried beans, olive oil, carrots, garlic, & celery
6. Originally a large stockpot, now applied to contents of the pot
8. To cook au gratin
9. A political soup
13. A soup made with sorrel "fit for the govenor of the Bank of France"
15. Hanoi Beef Soup
16. He placed a high value on a mess of pottage
18. Japanese: soup
19. Soup with whole grains, legumes, dried fruit and nuts; said to be the last meal served on Noah's Ark
20. (French) Thick hearty soup with chunks of garnish

Solution for the Soup puzzle will be published on our FaceBook page January 8, 2013

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Soup with Crouton photo credit: nettsu via photopin cc
French Onion photo credit: ilmungo via photopin cc