Celebrate National Soup Month

Soup; Image from MorgueFileJanuary isn’t just the beginning of the New Year it’s also the start of National Soup Month.  Is there really a better month than January to take an opportunity to learn about this warm, soothing and all around delicious epicurean staple?  Absolutely not!  So read on to find out just where soup came from, how to eat it correctly and what to do to keep it healthy and tasty.  And as if that weren’t enough soup to fill your appetite, we’ll also throw in three great recipes to try for yourself.

While today we often make soup out of leftover odds and ends (think of a turkey soup using Thanksgiving leftovers), this method used to actually be a necessity.   In the past, boiling foods made it possible for food to go further.  Items like bones and other normally inedible items were boiled to make a broth to take advantage of their nutritional elements.  Further along in history, according to cheftalk.com, soup began consisting of meat and vegetables and the original broth served more as an element to keep the solid food warm.  Although, this seems more in line with what we now know as soup, keep in mind that around this time people often didn’t have utensils, which meant they were still either drinking from the bowls, using their hands to pick out food or (if they were well-to-do) spearing solids with knives.

The table manners of yore are a far cry from how even the most etiquette deficient of us now tend to eat our soup.  However, have you ever been in one of those situations, eating soup in public, and thought…am I doing this right?  Never fear!  There are actually rules on how to enjoy your soup.   The Virginia Tech, Division of Student Affairs, suggests that you should “dip your spoon away” from you to fill your soup spoon.  They also remind to not place used utensils on the table and “sip quietly.”  To practice the etiqutte make sure you also get the right utensils.  Check out these Walco – Windso Flatware soup spoons from Central Restaurant Products.

Now that you know where it came from and how to eat it properly, you probably want to get right into making and eating your own soup, right?  Well, not so fast.  Before you jump right in, it’s important to know some tricks of the soup trade to make it as nutritious and delicious as possible.  First and foremost, it’s best to make your own.  Dr. Robert Vogel, chief medical director of the Pritikin Longevity Center, told Tesh.com that “many of them (canned soups) contain trans fats, more than half a day’s worth of sodium and even MSG.”

Soup; Image from MorgueFileTo prevent your own soup from being too high in sodium, an about.com article suggests putting a whole, peeled potato into your soup, simmering for 15 minutes and removing the potato.  Another good tip when making your own soup is to pack it with fiber, like beans or whole grain pasta and lean meats like chicken and turkey.  These elements will allow you to stay fuller longer, just as the liquid content in soup does.  And as if all these tips weren’t enough to make you want to eat soup every day,  an article by Becky Hand, Licensed and registered dietician on sparkpeople.com says that  studies show “people who eat broth or vegetable-based soups as the first course of a meal consume fewer total calories during their meal.

Now that you’re armed with all this new and useful soup knowledge, get out there and make some of your own.  You now know that it’s wholesome, but with the following recipes, it’s also pretty easy.  So get in that kitchen and make a warm pot of flavorful soup!

Italian Sausage Soup recipe from Go.com

Skinny Tortilla Soup recipe from Tasteofhome.com

Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto recipe from Eatingwell.com

Don’t forget to check out other handy soup gadgets like hand mixers (great for soup purees) or a sassy new soup bowl (to make things a little more colorful) from Central Restaurant Products.

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