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Soupy Facts
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by: Celebrity Recipes Magazine

Nothing beats a bowl of soup in restoring warmth and vigor. Indeed, just the first sip of a clear or creamy soup is enough to remind people of the goodness of this culinary creation. However, there's more to soup than meets the palate. Here are some surprising facts you might want to know about it.

Stock, broth and bouillon.
What's the difference? Verbalized in a sentence, these three words might just sound like an incantation from Harry Potter. However, they're not, but rather three names for the same thing --- the brew or liquid obtained from either simmering meat, bones, fish or vegetables; with seasonings and water. The resulting stock broth or bouillon by itself is a basic soup. Nonetheless, it could be made fancier by adding other ingredients. Anyway bouillon is just the French word for stock or broth.

On an "interesting" historical note, bouillon cubes (for those instant soup stocks) were actually, first made during the Medieval Ages. It seems that cooks in most medieval castles cooked great batches of soup and kept those not eaten by continually boiling and simmering them until all the water contents has been eliminated. The resulting "beef" mass was then kept and pieces broken off when needed. Like today, they just add water to the brownish mass to produce instant stock.

Fruit Soups.
Believe it or not there are soups made from fruits. In Sweden, people dine on fruit soups for breakfast and yes, dessert. It seems that the Germanic tribes have a "fruit tooth" and have, since time immemorial made soups of either fresh or dried fruit, cooked in wine or water. Additional sweeteners are added to such soups to make them thick in consistency. Although most fruits can be made into fruit soups, berries are usually preferred for this dish. A semolina-based pudding usually accompanies this sweet soup when served.

Birds' nest soup.
Despite the price-tag, Filipinos are well-aware of birds' nest soup, as Palawan supplies quite a lot of the exotic ingredients needed for making it. What is it? Well, its none other than the nest of swifts living on the cliffs of El Nido. Made from the mucus of the salivary glands of these birds, birds' nests fetch quite a sum when cleaned and sold in specialty stores.

What's not mentioned however, is that gathering these birds' nests is quite a dangerous undertaking as not a few gatherers lost their lives by losing their footing when collecting them.

Anyway, cooked with chicken broth, water chestnuts, mushrooms and ham; birds' nest soup is said to be very delicious indeed --- despite the human cost.

Soups and nationality.
Believe it or not, some soups are actually associated with specific nationalities. A few examples would be borsht which is very Russian, if not Ukrainian; cock-a-leekie, which is very Scott; minestrone, which is very Italian; and gazpacho, which is very Iberian (or Spanish).

What are these soups? Well, a borsht (or borsch) is essentially a soup with beets as the main ingredient. In Russia, it is served with sour cream, while the Ukrainians usually make do without the latter.

The cook-a-leekie by its very name tells the dinner what it's made of --- an old cock (chicken) and leeks, plus seasonings of course. Some pundits note that the tough chicken can be associated with the stubborn nature of most Scotts most of whom can't live without this soup.

A meal in itself, the minestrone is made of broth, pasta (or rice), seasonings and Parmesan cheese. This northern Italian soup is considered by some to be quite a "hefty" soup because of the ingredients involved. Some culinary critics also note that you can tell the financial status of Italian families simply by looking at this soup. It seems that the more watery it is, and the sparer the ingredients, the poorer the family usually is.

Designated a cold soup, the gazpacho, some Spaniards aver, was created by a very thirsty angel on a very hot day. This soup is usually made of fresh tomatoes, oil, seasonings, green peppers, cucumbers, chopped chives, fried croutons, and most of all, that staple of Mediterranean cuisine, garlic.

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September 20, 2017

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