And it is a good subject indeed for these cold, dimly lit days. A kitchen filled with the heat and aroma of a long simmering soup is a welcome nearly everyone craves. The very word soup conjures up warmth and nurture. Its etymology is said to be the Latin word suppare meaning to soak or to seep. Which is a way of extracting all possible nutritional value from all parts of a plant or animal from every bit of seed, grain, stem, stalk, leaf, skin, bone, marrow and cartilage. As each meal was finished, every scrape went into whatever passed for a stockpot in those long-ago days. When all meals began with a harvest or a hunt, extending the ability to feed one’s family is an accomplishment and a necessity. Puts a whole new perspective on dinner preparation and makes an hour’s effort look like duck soup.
Soup is believed to be the second oldest cooking method, developed as soon as a water-proofed hide containers could be hung over hot coals or to which hot rock could be added. Grains or cereals were roasted then ground into a paste to which hot water was added. From that point on, it was an upwardly bound enterprise where flavors and stores could be extended to feed many more people. Archeologists in China found the remains of a 2,400 year-old-soup that still contained bone fragments. Yet there is other evidence that humans were consuming soup as long ago as 20,000 years. That’s right, soup was
Believe it or not, soup is responsible for invention of restaurants according to food historians and etymologists alike. Inexpensive and concentrated soups were sold by 16thC French street vendors from wheeled carts equipped with crude cauldrons sitting over buckets of coals. These vendors advertised their wares as a restorative, an antidote for physical exhaustion. In 1785, one enterprising Parisian vendor moved his soup specializing kitchen indoors where it became known as a restaurant.
Whatever its origins, it is truly infinite in its variety and appeal. We have cold soups for summer months and hot ones for winter. There are broths, bouillons, consommés, cream soups, purees, bisques, bouillabaisses, chowders, gumbos, goulashes, pepper pots, Scotch broths, minestrones, mulligatawnies and those are just the formative types without necessary reference to the ingredients. Frequently our market tastings are of soups, which have become exceedingly popular. Not only have I seen a person or two go back for seconds, I have been one of them. On our website you will be able to find dozens of soup recipes including: Nana’s Chicken Soup, Creamy Turnip Soup, Potato Sorrel Soup, Spicy English Parsnip Soup, Minestrone, Panzanella and Ribollita Soup. As today’s recipe offering, we have our Market Master’s recipe for Leftover Potato, Ham and Cheddar Soup. As many of you can attest, Kay Carroll is a veritable Soup Maestro. I can attest to the fact that this delicious smokey combination of flavors is fully up to providing delicious satisfaction.