Soup Throughout History

May 7, 2014 by

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

One of the oldest foods in the world is probably a part of the first course you order at any reputable restaurant. Soup, which is broadly defined as the end result of putting multiple ingredients into a pot of boiling water, has been a popular staple since the dawn of human history. In fact, soup is so popular that entire industries are built on it and cultures even have their own unique flavors.

Food historians believe that the first soups were a lot like porridge. They were probably made of mashed grain that was made into a thick paste, almost like a sauce. It was probably heated with warm stones, and it’s likely that people just huddled around the fire and dug in.

Later civilizations show evidence of soup bowls made of bread, where the chef prepares loaves beforehand that were hollowed out. The Vikings did this, but they were not the only ones.

Soups are easily digestible, so they have been a prescription for sickness since the ancient times. When people need hydration, but exhibit the symptoms of a weak stomach, soup can give them some much needed nutrition.

Broth, bouillon and consommé were among the first items served in restaurants throughout the eighteenth century. Soups are also a major contributing factor to French cuisine, with many recipes known and made today.

Soup was also a staple throughout economic recessions like the Great Depression. It was not uncommon to find canned soups, made popular by increased technology for dehydration, but water was used to extend the shelf life of things as well. Ketchup soup, a Great Depression favorite, was simply watered down tomato sauce.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

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