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Soup is the general term for various kinds of salty liquid food, which often also contains solid components, such as vegetables and/or meat, with savoury varieties.

It it often one of the first courses of a dinner; if it is very rich in components and calories it may serve as a whole meal. At home it is usually a supper, tea or lunch meal.

The origin of soup is connected to the development of pottery vessels capable of holding and cooking liquids over a fire without breaking, a technology available in Mediterranean cultures since Neolithic times (approximately 5000 B.C.)

Learning to boil food was advantageous because it meant that certain grains, tougher vegetables and animal bones could be cooked together to add their taste and nutrients to a dish. Once you had a mixture of foods with water, it seems an inevitable development that people would drink the broth as well as eating the cooked items in it.

Soup is usually made from stock - water in which meat bones (and/ or vegetables) have been boiled.

Stock can be strained and reduced (boiled to reduce the water content) to yield a clear soup called consommé .

Cold soups, such as gazpacho, can be salty when made from vegetables, or sweet, when made from fruits.

recipe for "nutritious soup"

From the 1881 Household Cyclopedia

A pound of Scotch barley, with sufficient time allowed in the cooking, will make a gallon of water into a tolerable pudding consistency. A pint basin filled with it will hold a spoon upright, when at its proper degree of warmth for eating. Thoroughly steeped, it will produce a rich pulp, the form of the grains being nearly lost. Five hours' exposure, in a moderately heated oven, will be sufficient; and it may be improved by an hour or two more.

Amongst other means for such preparation, when a baker's oven has been emptied of its bread a pan of 1 gallon size may be put in to steep its contents during the preceding night, and then renew the usual baking in the morning. What has been lost by evaporation, may be restored by the addition of warm water. All the seasoning requisite to make it as savory as plain family dishes generally are, will be about 3 large onions, 1 ounce of salt, and 1/4 of an ounce of pepper. This seasoning should be put in before sending it to the oven.

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