Like most things, soup has an interesting history
and its economical, too.
Special to the Jewish News
n old catering guy I know always
said: "If you have water, you have
Fact is, the main ingredient of
most soup recipes is water. That's why soup is
filling, often lower in calories than many
might think, and economical to prepare.
Ounce per ounce, soup is about the cheapest
food there is.
With the record cold temps this month,
there isn't a better time than now to write
about the pleasures of hot soup.
I once read a bit of history claiming that
waterproof containers, suitable for boiling liq-
uids, were invented about 5,000 years ago.
From then on, people ate soup but for the
most part, it was considered peasant food.
Soup was one way to use up the scraps of meat
and bones most of the poor were allotted and
also a way of preserving vegetables. Boiling
helped to kill many poisons found in under-
cooked or contaminated animal and vegetable
In many cultures, soup was served for
breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here in America,
Joseph Campbell did much to make soup
available for every meal.
About 100 years ago, Campbell's fledgling
soup company caught the attention of working
women looking for an easy, instant meal. The
use of the chubby Campbell's Kids convinced
most American moms that their kids would
love the "Mmm, mmm, good!" flavor of
Now, of course, soup is "good food" and a
mainstay of our culture, for us as Americans
Some soups are considered downright
Jewish. No good Jewish-style deli would be
caught dead without matzah ball, mushroom
barley and chicken noodle soups on the menu,
though none of these concoctions is inherently
Jewish. Iconoclasts will argue whose soup is
best, with Mom's or Bubbe's recipes usually
winning top kudos.
If you're a soup lover and have water, you'll
be able to make any of the formulas below. If
you're a real soup aficionado, history shows
you'll adapt these recipes to your own individ-
ual tastes because, like most soup lovers, you
know how good soup can be.
My version of a French classic —
peas, vegetables and mint, pureed
into a thick, satisfying soup.
1 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 t. minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
2 packages (10-oz. each) frozen
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 t. liquid smoke
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 T. dried parsley flakes
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Toasted croutons, garnish
Dry sherry, garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a large nonstick skil-
let over medium-high heat. Add the
onions, celery, carrots and garlic to
the skillet and saute them until
softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the onions and garlic to
a soup pot. Add the remaining
ingredients, except for croutons and
sherry, and bring to a boil. Reduce
heat and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool
slightly before pureeing the soup in
a blender or food processor until
smooth. Reheat and serve the soup