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Savory Soups

It's hard to imagine a world without soup. After toiling away on a gray, frigid day, nothing brings warmth to the table like a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle, vegetable beef or crab bisque.

Soup has always promoted creativity with limited resources. Ancient Food News suggests that Neanderthals set out to find a way to feed the old and toothless members of their communities. To fill the need, they cooked soup in animal hides over a fire.

The nature of soup is in itself creative and frugal -- just about anything can be used as an ingredient. Because of this flexibility, glorious soups can be made with leftovers that might otherwise be thrown away. Overflowing with leftover ham, but only have a recipe for beef barley? Try it! The substitution will change the flavor profile of the soup, but shouldn't lower its quality. By the same token, a vegetable can easily be substituted, added or left out of a recipe without detriment. Several substitution ideas are outlined at Soup of the Evening.

These days, you aren't likely to find animal hides filled with soup above the fireplace. Instead, you'll probably encounter a can of Campbell's. Nearly 300,000 cans are produced each hour to satisfy the demand. The Campbell's Community features activities, soup facts, history, statistics and recipes.




If prepared soups aren't your style, a variety of sites will provide enough recipes to put homemade soup on the table. Among the best is RecipeSource's collection. The site allows you to search for specific soups or browse through its massive index. The Soup Freak also provides a healthy number of ideas. For tips on thickening soup without flour or eggs, check out Epicurious' 1,001 Tips from Great Cooks. Head over to LifeLines to find out how to cut the fat out of soup.

Soup of the Evening...Beautiful Soup features a wide range of recipes, from the traditional Chicken Noodle to the exotic French Matelote (made with eel). Several featured recipes find their origins in literature. In Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, two men stay at an inn in Spain's Basque region, where "The girl brought in a big bowl of hot vegetable soup and the wine." The soup Hemingway mentioned is real, and is still served at the inn today. This site offers a recipe for an adaptation of the soup, and many other recipes inspired by literature.

The next time you are feeling cold, unimaginative or down in the dumps, let soup warm up your day. Whether you crack open a can of Campbell's or craft a masterpiece, your spirits will be lifted.




   --- J. Lubawski

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