Cooking Louisiana - Soups

Soups are light and heartwarming, and, can be very healthy. Different regions of the globe have their different varieties of soup and I would think there are thousands of different recipes for soup. Most soups naturally take the flavors of the region from which they come.

We take soups for granted today because they are so easy to purchase at the grocery. Heck, you can even whip up a homemade soup in less than 2 hours! If we look back in time several hundred years ago and we'll certainly see a different story. 

The word "soup" comes from the word "sop", you know like "sop the gravy", in which a piece of bread is dipped in a pot of remaining juices in a dish. The first soup reportedly dates back to 6000 B.C. More currently (1500's or so) the New World travelers made soups, but, not for the reasons we do. Back then the soup was the final exercise in using every morsel of food available (available food and hunger was an everyday concern). Animal bones (seafood and livestock) were used, and, with a twofold purpose; residual pieces of meat were extracted, and, the bone marrow was extracted as the bones were normally broken before going into the pot. You could call this little process the making of a classic stock. Vegetables were thrown in and there you had it, a soup.

The soup was a good way to keep foods from spoiling. Historically the big kettle was hung over a fire and would be kept hot for extended periods of time, sometimes days or more. The early folks would just keep adding water and when another ingredient was acquired it could go into the soup. As you can imagine creativity was not the objective, this was survival. Through this simple survival technique came a dish that was considered "fit for the King" in many settings.   

You ever heard of "Portable Soup"? No, it wasn't a can of soup, try again [we're talking about the years gone by here]. Soup would be cooked down until it was extremely thick. At the proper point the soup was removed from the fire and cooled.  The final result was was a dense cake of condensed soup that could be wrapped and brought on long trips by land and sea. When it was time to eat, a pot of water was heated and the "Portable Soup" was tossed in.

Today we still enjoy soup but the variations are almost unlimited.  It's a refreshing, simple and small taste of good food that just "hits the spot" on a cold day.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Vegetable Beef Soup
Vegetable Chicken Soup
Oyster Soup 
Potato Soup

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