soup, liquid food in which different kinds of solid food have been cooked, e.g., meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, cereals, or fruit. Many soups are peculiar to certain localities, e.g., the pot-au-feu of France, the borscht of Russia, the mutton broth of Scotland, the minestrone of Italy, and the chowders of various seacoast places. Broth is a thin soup of meat or shellfish liquor, sometimes with cereals added, as in barley broth. Clear soups, made from a rich meat stock, include consommé (beef, veal, or fowl) and bouillon (beef or chicken). A clear soup with finely shredded vegetables added is a julienne soup. Thick soups include vegetable soups made with stock and vegetables (as in pot-au-feu) or with milk and flour (cream soups) or by cooking fish and vegetables in water as for a chowder. A puree differs from a cream soup in that it is thickened with pulp, usually of a vegetable; sometimes, particularly when made with fish, it is called a bisque. Gumbo is either vegetable or meat soup thickened with okra. Stock, the basis of a great many soups, is made by placing lean meat, bones, fowl, fish, or vegetables in cold water, simmering in a covered pot, skimming, straining, and removing the fat. Bones supply marrow and gelatin. The bones of old animals are much richer in marrow and gelatin than those of young ones. Stock is either white or brown; for white, fowl or veal is used; for brown, beef and beef bones or beef combined with veal are used. Jellied soups, served as appetizers in hot weather, may be made from stock or from strained vegetable juices with the addition of gelatin. Gazpacho, the cold soup of Spain, is made of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and seasonings in a base of tomato juice. Soups vary widely as to dietary value. The clear, delicately seasoned ones are important as appetizers and appetite stimulants, while the more substantial ones, like chowders, form, with the addition of bread, a one-dish meal.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.