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.
Cheap: soups are a common food and in fact they are prepared with cheap ingredients but rich in flavours and useful substances.
- Full of water: 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
- Lots of variations: 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.
When tradition meets innovation
Dishes of this type are known as poor and not very tasty foods, often prepared only in our kitchens.
You will not belive that a high quality restaurant can offer to its guests dishes of this kind.
However, the greatness of a chef starts especially from here: he should know how to reinvent the tradition, presenting it in new shapes and colors and evoking the same original feelings.
The restaurant is a place full of special effects, created to impress guests and now many chefs want to offer in their restaurantis these forgotten flavors, improving them in taste and choice of raw materials.
So chefs do not challenge the tradition but they married it, improving it.
And so also a poor dish such as soup, can be transformed into an innovative creation.
So here is a new tasty recipe to discover all the pleasures of a soup, like you have never experienced!
Pumpkin soup, salty ricotta, olive sauce and fried bread crumbs, by the chef Anna Ciccarone
Ingredients for 4 people
For the pumpkin: 600 g pumpkin, 60 g of chopped onion, 30 g of diced carrots, extra virgin olive oil and salt.
For the olive sauce: 100 g of pickled olives, water, oil and salt.
For the bread: 60 g of stale bread crumbs
After cleaning and chopping the pumpkin, brown the onion in the oil.
Now add carrots and pumpkin, cover with a little water and cook over low heat.
When the vegetables have become soft, mix everything, adding a little oil and salt.
Meanwhile, put the olives in the oven at 140 °.
When dried, remove the nub and blend them. Then add a little oil and stir.
Crumble the bread and let it roast in a pan with no condiments.
Now pour the soup on plates, sprinkle with the salty ricotta and add the toasted breadcrumbs.
At the end garnish with a spoon full of olives sauce.
Next time we will talk about creams and pureed soup and we will focus on the differences between them!