For other uses, see Soup (disambiguation).Template:Cuisine

Soup is a savoury liquid food that is made by boiling ingredients, such as meat, vegetables and beans in stock or hot water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers about 5,000 years ago.

Over the centuries, the terms gruel— a thin porridge— and potage have become separated from broth, and stock and their refinement, consomme, have all been used to describe this pot-boiling cooking method. The terms have shifted over time, but the modern definition of soup and stew were established in the eighteenth century. Soups usually are more liquid, while stews are thicker; contain more solid ingredients. Stews are cooked in covered containers for longer periods of time, at a gentle boil with less water and at a lower heat.

Traditionally, soup is classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classification of clear soups are bouillon and consomme. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: puree, which are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from pureed shellfish thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with bechamel sauce; and veloute are thickened with eggs, butter and cream. Other ingredients to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grains.


Potage or pottage

"Potage" (connoting the contents of the cooking pot) denotes a soup where meat and vegetables are boiled together with water until it forms a thick soup. In Medieval and Early Modern Europe peasant diet consisted almost solely of potage.

Early history

The word soup originates from the Teutonic word, suppa, to describe a Medieval dish consisting of a thick stew poured on slices of bread, called sop, used to soak up the liquid. Often described as potages, Onion soup is an example of a modern soup that retains this bread sop.

Thin soups became a popular in Europe during the seventeenth century, when the spoon was invented. The spoon was designed to accommodate the new fashion of wearing large, stiff ruffles worn around the neck.

The word restaurant was first used in France in the 16th century, to describe a highly concentrated, inexpensive meal, sold by street vendor called restaurer, that was advertise as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in restaurers. This prompted the use of the modern word, restaurant to describe the shops. By 1827, the popularity of restaurants had spread throughout France and England, and restaurants now carried a full menu of prepared food dishes.

In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1742, based on Eliza Smith's Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion and included several recipes for soups and bisques. A 1772 cookbook, The Frugal Housewife, contained an entire chapter. English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other country, other national recipes for soup gained popularity. Pennsylvania Germans were famous for potato soup. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Boston, called Restorator and des Julien was known as, The Prince of Soups. The first American cooking pamphlet dedicated to soup recipes was written in 1882 by Emma Ewing: Soups and Soup Making.

Portable soup was devised in the eighteenth century by boiling seasoned meat until a thick, resinous syrup was left that could be dried and stored for months at a time. The Japanese miso is an example of a concentrated soup paste.

Today, Chicken noodle soup is one of the most popular soups in America according to Campbell Soup Company. Chicken soup is considered an effective remedy for the the common cold, and is popularly referred to as "Jewish penicillin".

Commercial soup

Commercial soup became popular with the invention of canning in the 19th century.

Missing image
Vegetable beef barley soup

Dessert soups

Fruit soups

Fruit soups are served hot or cold depending on the recipe. Many recipes are for cold soups served when fruit was in season during hot weather. Some like Norwegian 'frukt suppe' may be served hot and rely on dried fruit such as raisins and prunes and so could be made in any season. Fruit soups may include milk, sweet or savoury dumplings, spices, or alcoholic beverages like brandy or champagne.

Cold fruit soups are most common in Scandanavian, Baltic and Eastern European cuisines while hot fruit soups with meat appear in Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Chinese cuisines. Fruit soups are uncommon or absent in the cuisines of the Americas, Africa and Western Europe. They are also not seen in Japan, Southeast Asia or Oceania.

Asian soups

A feature of East Asian soups not normally found in Western cuisine is the use of tofu in soups.

Traditional regional soups

Soup as a figure of speech

In the English language, the word "soup" has developed several phrasal uses.

  • Alphabet soup is a term often used to describe a large amount of acronyms used by an administration.
  • Primordial soup is a term used to describe the organic mixture leading to the development of life.
  • A soup kitchen is a place that serves prepared food of any kind to the homeless.
  • Pea Soup describes a thick or dense fog.
  • Stone soup is a popular children's fable.

Soup in popular culture

Soup in other languages

See also

Literary reference

  • Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food (2002). New York: Free Press ISBN 0743226445
  • Larousse Gastronomique, Jennifer Harvey Lang, ed. American Edition (1988). New York: Crown Publishers ISBN 0609609718
  • Morton, Mark. Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities (2004). Toronto: Insomniac Press ISBN 1894663667

External links


  • Solley, Patricia G. (1997) Soupsong ( Retrieved January 8,

fr:Soupe ja:スープ lt:Sriuba pl:Zupa sr:Супа sv:Soppa zh:汤


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