THE HISTORY OF SOUP
My favorite explorer is Captain Cook, who, in the mid-to-later 1770s, drew maps of the world that even satellite imaging haven't changed much. He was a genius at sailing, navigation, and using a sextant. I would like to attribute the first soups to him, but in fact his contribution was the "stock cubes" he took on his voyages to make soup. His sailors referred to that soup as a portable soup. It was made by evaporating clarified broth until it reached the consistency of glue. It could be stored for a very long time. Cook was also knowledgeable enough to take along citrus fruit to help prevent scurvy, something no other sailor had done before him.
What most likely happened was that primitive humans, given much more credit for intelligence today after years of research, invented soup. What they probably did was drop a heated stone into a bladder of liquid containing whatever their diet held back then and then added nuts and bugs to flowers and wild roots.
The containers for primitive humans were crude at best, most likely animal bladders.
Thus, when the "bronze age" arrived, soup makers probably blossomed. A bronze kettle or pot was made available to them and cooking over an open flame did become popular. (There were iron kettles, too.) It is known that migrants from northern France arrived in Great Britain in the fourth millennium B.C. with farming skills and apparently soup-making skills. Historians and archaeologists tell us that these same migrants brought cultivated wheat and barley as well as sheep and goats. They also brought along their knowledge of making pottery bowls, which some declare, put an end to the dropping of stones into containers of gruel. Instead, the new pots and bowls made cooking possible and provided starch from farmed cereals, which gave them their new "soup" texture.
Archaeologists have found pottery and old pots as well as old stomachs (hope you have the stomach for that), with signs ofberries, wheat, nuts, and fish in them. These from Switzerland and Denmark. Two TV on camera types in a 1954 documentary tried the soup recipes that were estimated by archaeologists. They very nearly did a dive in front of the cameras, representing the soup after swallowing a few bites. Our ancestors must have been "tough old birds."
It was a long haul between those first "soups" and recording newer, probably more flavorful versions. We know for instance that the Romans brought across the seas--when they visited their neighbors in England--a variety of new ingredients, from leeks, onions, carrots, herbs, and spices such as coriander, parsley, thyme, and fennel. The Romans weren't using The Joy of Cooking, however. Their recipes were very complicated.
I found this old Roman recipe on a Web site, one of those listed in the References at the end of this section. I thought it interesting because it shows signs of linkage to Southeast Asia. The recipe is from the writings of Apicus's fourth-century A.D. cookbook. The recipe was created three centuries earlier.
First prepare a wheat gruel by boiling up some presoaked wheat with water and a little olive oil, and stir vigorously to thicken. Then pound up half a pound of minced meat in a mortar, with two brains, some pepper, lovage and fennel seed, and add wine and liquamen [fermented fish sauce, a little like modern Southeast Asian versions]. Cook the mixture in a metal vessel, add some stock, and add the result to the wheat gruel. [Voilà!]
As early as the 1500s we have a record of that era's soup from Andrew Boorde, whose first book (1542) was titled: The Fyrste Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge. Boorde was a physician and a traveler who was concerned about human health during the midand later-1500s. In his last treatise he wrote about a soup that began to take the form that we may recognize today in some older recipes: "A new, thinner type of pottage becomes fashionable. The French call it "soupe" from the practice of placing a "sop" of bread at the bottom of pottage bowls to soak up the juices." Tell me you haven't done that!
During the 1700s, a Frenchman named Monsieur Boulanger opened a soup shop, in Paris in 1765. His small shop was the world's first restaurant, and it sold only soup. (There are manyBoulanger restaurants today, most likely named after this man. There are also restaurants named Boulangerie that sell soups and other luncheon meals.) The name derived from a sign hanging above the door, which read, Boulanger vends les restaurants magiques or BOULANGER SELLS MAGIC RESTORATIVES.
Soup history began to move along much more quickly at the beginning of the 1800s. Peter Durand invented the "tin canister" for food storage and preservation. Twenty years later the first canned goods went public, available for sale to anyone.
Opening those cans was not an easy task however. One had to use a hammer and chisel and all without available bandages, which were often needed.
So in 1858, a (most likely frustrated man named Ezra Warner) patented his new can opener. Things were moving along for soups and other canned goods rather quickly.
Fourteen years later a woman named Amanda Theodosia Jones invented the vacuum-packing procedure, which changed the world of processed and preserved foods and soups. The manufacturing of canned foods took off.
Twenty-five years after that momentous event, Joseph Campbell Soup Company developed a formula for condensed soups. Five new soups hit the market with a "bang." Tomato, Consommé, Vegetable, Chicken, and Oxtail.
It wasn't until 1928 that we saw the first wheel can openers advertised in a Sears Roebuck catalog.
From 1934 until now, we've seen a stream of new soups, new recipes, and new marketing approaches. Dried soups, wet soups, condensed soups, low-fat soups, low-sodium soups, and then, of course, the famous Seinfeld show titled: "The Soup Nazi." Think that's nuts. Well, immediately after that show, soup cafes began opening in cities all over the United States. That was when soup became known as a hearty, satisfying full meal.
And now, in 2004 we have no-salt and lowest-sodium soups. No chemicals, no additives, no crutches. And particularly, no salt. They taste absolutely wonderful and were created by Maureen Gazzaniga. Read on, you'll want to make every one of them.
APPLE AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
Rinse, peel, and core the apples. Chop the apple coarsely and set aside in a bowl with 1/2 cup of the no-sodium bottled water (to keep the apples from browning).
Over low to medium heat, in a medium-size (4-quart) saucepan, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent, then add the curry powder, stir for another minute.
Add the cauliflower, the remaining bottled water, and the chopped apples with their soaking water to the pan and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is soft or tender. This will take between 15 and 20 minutes.
Using a handheld mixer, puree the mixture in the pan. (You can also use a blender or a food processor.) Cook the pureed mixture over medium heat until hot.
Serve hot. Stir in the white pepper before serving.
Nutrient Values per Serving:
Calories: 64. Protein: 1.868 g. Carbohydrate: 13.5g. Dietary Fiber: 3.516 g.
Total Sugars: 0 g. Total Fat: 1.146 g. Saturated Fat: .164 g. Monounsaturated Fat: .589 g.
Polyunsaturated Fat: .206 g. Cholesterol: 0 mg. Calcium: 28.2 mg. Iron: .57 mg.
Potassium: 307.5 mg. Sodium: 21.3 mg. Vitamin K: 4.197 mcg. Folate: 44.7 mcg.
BEEFY MUSHROOM AND RICE SOUP
While stationed in the Far East I ate a great deal of rice. Rice with fish heads, rice soup, fried rice, steamed rice. Rice in any shape or form you could imagine. What I missed was my "steak and potato" diet, although I think I may have been a bit healthier eating rice and raw vegetables.Beef was missing, always. Back then the Japanese just didn't have it in their diet. So, as soon I returned to the States, I pulled my hot plate out of my duffel bag and after returning from the commissary, whipped up my own rice and mushroom and beef soup. I hope you like it.
Heat the olive oil and brown the meat over medium heat in a large nonstick saucepan, or in a heavy stainless steel pan. When browned, add the onion and garlic; cook until softened. Add Don's Herbes de Provence Spice Mix, then the bottled water, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about an hour or until the meat is tender.
Add the thinly sliced carrot, celery, and mushrooms to the soup. Simmer, covered, for another 15 to 20 minutes. If, after cooking, the rice absorbs too much liquid, add more water, 1/2 cup at a time, until the texture is the way you like it.
Nutrient Values per Serving
Calories: 257.7. Protein: 15.2 g. Carbobydrate: 28.2 g. Dietary Fiber: 2. 731 g. Total Sugars: 0 g. Total Fat: 9.324 g. Saturated Fax: .445 g. Monounsaturated Fat: .065 g. Polyunsaturated Fat: .164 g. Cholesterol: 4.08 mg. Calcium: 50.1 mg. Iron: 3.839 mg. Potassium: 536. 7 mg. Sodium: 45.2 mg. Vitamin K: 2.172 mcg. Folate: 80.4 mcg.
BEEFY VEGETABLE WITH BARLEY
Maureen's mushroom barley soup is hearty, tasty, and wholesome, so why add anything...