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Soup

An Introduction
The term "Soup ' comes from the word "sop" which refers to a dish composed of soup or thick stews wherein pieces of bread where soaked. The idea of soaking underlies the etymology of the word, soup. A highly nutritious and wholesome food, soup is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in plain stock or hot and boiling water till a clear and smooth broth is formed. Highly affordable, it could be consumed by all sections of society and traditionally incorporated the local ingredients and flavors of each region. Soups are available in different varieties and can be either thick or clear. Depending on the types of thickening agents, soups are classified as purees, bisques and cream soups. Rice, flour, and grain are some of the types of thickening agents used in soup preparation.
 

History of Soup
The history of soups dates back to as far as 6000 BC. In the 16th century, the word restaurer referred to a highly concentrated soup sold in the streets and this word gradually evolved to the modern word restaurant. In the USA, the first cookbook published in the year 1742 had recipes for soups. The contributions of German immigrants to the American soup culture is well known. A variety of soups like portable soups were devised by boiling seasoned meat till it formed a thick creamy layer. Japanese miso soup is a very famous type of soup. Invention of the canning process resulted in the commercialization of the soup which attained greater popularity with it.

   
 
Types of Soups
Soups can be prepared using a variety of ingredients from vegetables, seafood and meats. They are classified on various basis. A bisque is a heavy and smooth soup that is made from seafood like lobsters and shrimps. Another type of thick soup is chowder which is a thick and chunky soup, generally, seafood but also includes poultry, vegetables and other items. Stock and broth is a clear soup that has ingredients like meat and poultry which are cooked with vegetables and herbs. Bouillon refers to commercial products like granules and cubes. Consomme is a strong meat or fish broth that has undergone clarification.

Cold fruit soups are commonly consumed in Scandinavia. Cold soups may be sweet or savory
where the temperature is at or below room temperatures. Asian soups use tofu to a large degree and are more typically broths, clear and starch thickened soups. Soups are favored as they are rich in flavors and health benefits. Dessert soups include  Ginataan, a Filipino soup made from coconut milk, milk, fruits and tapioca pearls, served hot or cold. Oshiruko, a Japanese azuki bean soup and Tong sui, A variety of ingredients are also added as thickeners and liquid, usually stock or water, is used to slowly simmer the ingredients while bringing together flavors. Garnishes are used to increase the visual appeal, texture and tastes. The world over, soup is consumed and the famous varieties of soups include the New England chowder, Spanish gazpacho, Bouillabaisse from Southern France. Mulligatawny Soup, Goulash of Hungaria, Russian borscht, Italian minestrone, French onion and the Chinese won ton.
 
Benefits of Soups
Soups are regarded as beneficial for those who wish to reduce their weight and live a healthy and fulfilling life. A wholesome type of food, soup is a filling type of food and also low in calories and other fats. Soups help the body fight diseases and infections. It provides relief from cold and throat problems. It clears the clogged airways and fights off colds. It is especially low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Soups are warmth inducing and are easy to prepare and eat. They provide adequate nourishment to the human body in many ways. Soup forms a necessary part of the diet of sick and invalid people and is also good for children and people of all ages.

Soup is easier to digest as compared to other foods. It provides the required fluids and minerals to the body without damaging the system in any way. Further, it is essential to the building of strong bones. Each soup brings with it different benefits. Chicken soup stops the movement of neutrophils especially white blood cells and stop the bacteria released  by viral infections like colds. Soups can be consumed as a main dish and it is possible to fill them with meats and vegetables or as appetizer.