Chase Away the Blues with Delicious Soups and Stews
These liquid lunches are sure to warm you through and through.
For mothers trying to please their family, college students patching together a kitchen, or busy retirees who don’t want to spend much time at the stove, soup or stew can be the answer. Not only is homemade soup an inexpensive yet nutritious meal, it is also a time saver, a way to enjoy seasonal vegetables, and a tasty means to savor some warming fluid comfort.
As a child, I loved homemade tomato soup with chunks of grilled cheese sandwich or homemade bread dipped in it. It turns out that by dipping my bread in the soup, breaking it into the broth and fishing it out with my spoon (or fingers), I was participating in the precise ritual that helped create the word “soup.”
In the Middle Ages, peasants relied on thin soup from a stockpot, which was endlessly topped off with what was available at that moment. The broth was served over thick pieces of bread called ‘soppes’ and eaten without a spoon – hence the word soup.
But soup history stretches back further than the Middle Ages. It’s one of the earliest documented prepared foods, though exactly when humans first consumed hot liquid from a pot is unclear. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers about 5,000 years ago.
Historical records indicate that soup and porridge-style meals were prepared by many ancient cultures. Modern soup and stew definitions were established in the 18th century. Today, soups are usually more liquid, while stews tend to be thicker with more solid, chunky ingredients.
The simple beauty of this ancient cooking technique lends itself well to modern day living. You can chop up the ingredients, place them in a pot with water or broth and let them simmer, while you catch up on homework, chores or reading, and take breaks now and then to give the pot a stir. You can also let your soups and stews simmer all day in a slow cooker, and come home to the heady aroma of a ready meal.
Butternut Squash Soup
The word squash is a shortened version of the Native American Narragansett word askutasquash, which means something that is eaten raw. It was a revered food for many Native American tribes and, as early as 3,000 B.C., it was referred to as the “apple of the god.” Squash is one of the three sisters, the other two being corn and beans. While squash is a beloved ingredient in countless dishes today and a Thanksgiving staple, it took centuries for Europeans to develop a taste for it.
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