When the cold weather is in abundance, what better way to sit down and warm up than with a nice, warm bowl of soup? Where did soup come from, and how was it created? Let’s find out as we dive into the history of National Soup Month!
The soul warming history of National Soup Month
Historical evidence of the existence of soup dates all the way back to about 20,000 B.C. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of a waterproofed container, which started out as clay vessels. Animal Hides and watertight baskets were used along with heated rocks. The word soup itself derives from the French word soupe which means soup or broth. The word restaurant was first used in France, around the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion.
In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for the eating establishments. In the US, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
A 1772 cookbook titled The Frugal Housewife, had an entire chapter around the entire subject of soups. In 1897, Doctor John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company invented condensed soup, which has grown exponentially in popularity in the modern era. Condensing soup allows soup to be packaged into a smaller can and sold at a lower price than other canned soups. The soup is usually doubled in volume by adding a “can full” of water or milk (about 10 ounces).
Since the 1990s, the canned soup market has burgeoned with soups marketed as “ready-to-eat,” which require no additional liquid to prepare. Microwaveable bowls have expanded the ready-to-eat canned soup market even more, offering convenience (especially in workplaces) and are popular lunch items.
How to celebrate National Soup Month
To celebrate, we could all make soup with our families at home and stay warm while we eat the soul-warming liquid that we all know and love. Here’s a recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup.
- 1 Chopped Onion
- 1 Can of Chili Beans
- 1 Can of Black Beans
- 1 Can of Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
- 1 Can of Tomato Sauce
- 1 can or bottle of beer.
- 2 cans of diced tomatoes with green chilis.
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 package of shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour Cream (optional)
- Crushed Tortilla Chips (Optional)
- Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
- Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.