Just a few Facts and Trivia about soup

Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.

Bennett Cerf

The first commercially available packet soup, of dried ingredients, was offered by Knorr in the 1870s.

Tilly: Was this a good idea, given how many additives make up the ingredients these days?

Prince Friedrich Wilhelm, the Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia began each morning with a beer soup. Beer soup was very common in central Europe in the medieval and early modern period.

Tilly: As was wine soup and cabbage soup.

When Andy Warhol was once asked why he painted the iconic soup cans, he said: “I used to have the same (Campbell’s soup) lunch every day for 20 years.”

In 6,000 B.C., a recipe for soup included hippopotamus meat, sparrows, roots, lentils, and some spices.

Tilly: Needs must when the devil drives, I suppose …

America’s first colonists carried “Pocket soup”, a substance not unlike today’s bouillon cube, to which one could add hot water and various wild or domestic roots and vegetables to make a nutritious soup. According to legend, this portable soup – made popular by the Lewis and Clark expedition – grew into an industry of dried and processed meats and vegetables supplied to Union troops during the Civil War.

Tilly: Who are Lewis and Clark?

Olive: Tilly, you didn’t study them in school, they explored the Northwest Territory? Gees

Tilly – I think you’ve added ‘expedition’

“Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart and cannot make a good soup” (Ludwig van Beethoven).

Tilly: How right he is!

When composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) needed inspiration, he had a bowl of noodle soup.

Tilly: But did he use chopsticks?

Excavators in China discovered the world’s oldest soup near the famed terracotta army of Xian. Now cloudy and green from the bronze cooking vessel in which it was sealed, the bone soup, surprisingly still in liquid form, was found in a tomb dating to the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), alongside a vessel that may have held wine.

Researchers are now trying to discover the recipe. Archaeology, Mar/Apr 2011

Tilly: Bet if they asked my mother for the recipe for the recipe, she’d have it – I remember some ancient cloudy green stuff being dished up…


Tips for Soups

Use tea balls to flavor soup. It holds those pesky whole peppercorns and bay leaves.

Use your favorite tomato juice drink for your beef veggie soups.

Use instant potatoes to soups instead of corn starch or flour.

Tilly: or just chop up a potato, skin and all. Scrubbed first, of course.

Use pizza sauce or marinara sauce, enchilada sauce for either vegetable for tomato soup.

Tilly: Or a healthy slug of vodka and make it Bloody Mary soup, Or Grand Marnier to carrot soup is a winner. Frangelico is marvellous with celery soup—or almost any soup you fancy!

Simple stock recipes

Chicken Stock: Place 4 pounds chicken backs, wings, and bones in a large stock pot. Add 4 quarts / 4 liters cold water, 2 large sliced onions, 2 sliced carrots, 2 sliced ribs celery with leaves, 1 bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Slowly bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer, skimming off surface foam for first 30 minutes. Simmer a total of 2 hours; strain. Makes about 7 cups.

Tilly: A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well.  – Henny Youngma

Beef Stock: Preheat oven to 450°F. / 230 C .Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large roasting pan. Add 4 pounds beef bones and brown in oven, about 10 minutes, stirring pieces frequently. Add 2 large sliced onions, 2 sliced carrots, 2 sliced ribs celery with leaves and roast until browned. Transfer bones and vegetables to a large stock pot.

Pour off fat from roasting pan and deglaze with 1 cup hot water, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan; pour into stockpot. Add 1 bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 2 sprigs parsley and 1 teaspoon dried thyme to stock-pot and cover with 4 quarts / 4 liters cold water. Slowly bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer 4 to 5 hours, skimming off surface foam during first 30 minutes of cooking; strain. Makes about 3 quarts.


Vegetable Stock: Combine 3 each finely chopped carrots, celery, leeks, and onions, along with 1/2 pound / 225 ml mushroom pieces, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs parsley, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme in a large stockpot. Cover with 3 quarts / 3 liters water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 2 hours; strain. Makes about 2 quarts.

Tilly: don’t boil stock, it will go cloudy. You want clear and shining stock, so gentle heat for a long time.

Tilly: I happened upon a piece from a chat show/home magazine programme with Rustie Lee, the charismatic chef, restaurant and TV personality. She made what she called her Saturday Soup – perfect for casual entertaining, but sustaining. As she listed the ingredients, after she mentioned the chuck steak, she said ‘Of course, we used to use missionaries for the pot, but we’re not allowed to these days.’

I slid off the sofa, I laughed so much. The host’s face was a delight to behold! And her confusion … instead of laughing, she was covered with embarrassment. Anyway, I have looked up the recipe – it’s not quite the same as the Saturday Soup – but you’ll get the idea.

The ingredients are: 450g chuck beef cut into cubes, 1 tsp black pepper, 3 tsp salt, 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 scotch bonnet pepper, 6-8 sprigs thyme, 100ml olive oil, 450g white yam, peeled and chopped into chunks, 450g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into chunks, 1 large onion, chopped, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 2 cans kidney bean, 125g coconut cream and 125g spinach.

For the dumplings: 175g plain flour , 25g butter , 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp chopped thyme and 3-4 tbsp cold water.

You all know how to make soup, so I won’t bore you with instructions.

Olive: Coconut cream… in a soup… WHAT?

Tilly: I’ve told you before, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Coconut cream adds a smooth deliciousness – and is an important ingredient in a great many curries and other spicy food.

Olive and Tilly



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  • Cristie

    The only good thing about winter is Christmas and having a pot of soup on the stove most of the time! I love any type of soup and will enjoy trying your stick recipes.
    There is a local kitchen shop that has dozens of different Picket Soup packages. Great stocking stuffer!

    • Olive

      I love the idea of a shop selling Pocket Soup. I am with you on liking anytype of soup except for Tilly’s with that coconut cream..that is icky poo…

  • Jerry Bell

    Well you ladies have done it again. Now I crave soup. I guess I will work a little on the stock recipes and nibble on some cracker until it is done.
    Usually, I try to eat soup in the cool of any season other than blazing summer, but I’ll just turn my AC firm a few notches anprocees.
    Wonderful blog, as always.

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