Where do they come from?
The soup is the food of the working class. Its origin dates back to many years ago, when poor peasants could only afford some vegetables dipped in a broth.
To better understand the origin of this food we have to start from the name. The soup comes from the gothic word “suppa”, which means slice of soaked bread.
In fact, rich lords often ate meat or other foods over thick slices of bread in the Middle Ages, which effectively replaced the dishes.
At the end of the meal, the pieces of bread left by the rich people were donated to the servants who cooked them with other vegetables in pots full of water.
The result was a soup (a bit rustic) not very different from those we prepare when vegetables are no longer so fresh.
So simple, so widespread
As already said, the soup is the food of common people and there is not a single recipe for its preparation. It has spread around the world and it is affected by the local culinary tradition, crops, seasons and personal tastes.
So soups are a common food and this is demonstrated by the fact that the term is almost the same in different languages like “suppe” in german, “sopa” in spanish, “soupe” in french and “soup”in english.
The soup has thus undergone a process of glocalisation: a widespread food on a global scale, characterized by local influences.
For example, black cabbages are preferred in Tuscany, legumes are very popular in Sicily and Calabria (especially beans), while cheese is the chosen one in Sardinia.
Healthy and nutritious
Soups are often considered a poor food but they are very tasty and only few people know their benefits.
- Nutritious: It is recommended to consume 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day but we hardly do that.
Soups allow you to quickly take a lot of useful substances: those with meat or legumes are full of proteins, those with vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C, mineral salts and fibers, while others such as the famous “Tomato soup” contains many antioxidants against cancer.
- Cheap: soups are a common food and in fact they are prepared with cheap ingredients but rich in flavours and useful substances. We can also use vegetables not so good and fragrant and the final result will not be affected in flavour.
- Moisturizers: soups contain broth, vegetables and a lot of water so they are perfect in winter when you are less thirsty.
- Light: soups are often low-calorie and easily digestible; Moreover, they satiate and you will not feel too much full.
- Imaginative: we have already said that there is not a single recipe for soups. There are many variations and we can free our imagination, experimenting new combinations!
- Good for everyone: soups are a great way to promote vegetables to children and they are perfect for older people with chewing problems.
Is it all the same?
Differences between soup, “minestra” and “minestrone”
We use improperly the word “soup” to identify other foods such as “minestre”, creams and pureed soups.
Each of them has different characteristics of consistency and ingredients.
Today we talk about soups and “minestre”, two of the most common foods on our tables.
Let’s do some clarity!
In the soup there is no pasta or rice, but only pieces of bread.
Usually the soup is more consistent and firm than the “minestra” because there is less broth and bread makes the soup more compact.
On the contrary, the “minestra” also contains rice, pasta or barley and vegetables and it is more liquid.
Depending on the place, the pasta in the soup changes according to local tastes: rice is the chosen one in Lombardy, while in Emilia Romagna and Veneto, people add pasta, cappelletti or even scrambled egg.
The “minestrone” is an exception, because it represents the meeting point between soup and “minestra”.
In fact, new foods such as potatoes, corn and beans were brought in our kitchens after the discovery of America. They enrich the soup and thanks to them the “minestrone” is not very liquid, just like the soup.
So here is a recipe to discover the pleasures of soups.
Ingredients: zucchini, potatoes, water, onion, vegetable broth, olive oil.
Cut the onion and fry it in a pan with a little oil. When the onion becomes transparent (don’t let it brown too much), add diced zucchini.
Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the peeled potatoes, cut into cubes.
Add the vegetable broth and boil it all.
At the end, whisk the mixture to obtain a finer soup and add salt.