Soup Through the Ages (The History Of Soup)

Soup is said to be as old as the history of cooking. The earliest soup dates back to 20,000 BC in Xianrendong Cave China where the ancient pottery showed signs of scorch marks which suggests that the pot must have been making hot soup.

It is thought that ancient soup makers simply dug a hole in the ground, lined it with animal skin, and used it to boil water using hot stones. This practice dates back to the Neanderthals who used to boil bones and render fats that would prevent protein poisoning. This cooking method resulted in a drinkable broth.

Why was Soup Cooked?

Cooking was the best thing that ever happened to the early man after the discovery of fire. The advancements in pottery allowed man to boil meat, grains, roots, and vegetables, instead of eating them using the roasting method.

Submerging the food in water held more importance. It allowed the food to cook faster and thoroughly. It also provided for better flavours in the soup since the food would release its juices and make the soup tastier. Starches made the soup thicker allowing the meal to be more satiating.

Cooking also opened possibilities of including ingredients that would otherwise be inconsumable owing to the bitterness or possibility of poisoning.

Soup in the Early Ages- 10th- 13th Century

In the early middle ages, soup continued to play an integral role in society.

When food was scarce, soup was made by dumping all sorts of ingredients in the pot and boiling the contents. The soup was filling and cheap, making it a convenient food item for both the rich and the poor. Since it was made from simple ingredients, it was easy to digest by both the sick and healthy.

Earliest Version of Soup

After the invention of waterproof containers, soup became much easier to make. It was not anything more than a watery gruel. It involved cereals that would be roasted and ground to form a paste. The paste would be boiled with additional water which was known as pottage, broth or porridge.

In other cultures, more vegetables and starchy foods like legumes, peas, beans, or pasta-like products would be added to the pot. This made the soup more filling and hospitable. You can still find this kind of soups in different cultures around the world.

Soups also progressed to involve meat and fish. The quality of the soup also improved with the advancement in agricultural practices, availability of durable cooking containers, quality of vegetables, and availability of seasoning herbs.

Fruits (fresh or dried) were also adapted in soups as they were seen to improve the flavour of the soup.

During these times, soup was primarily left to the poor partly because of fuel. Roasting was for the noble during the Renaissance as the classes were hugely divided. But because of the careful preparation of soup, it was not going anywhere as many of the old recipes have been passed on through generations to our dinner tables today.

After a few decades, soup evolved as the cookery became more diversified and artistic. This is as cooks realized that soup would become more extravagant. It was now prepared artfully and seasoned with a nice touch like we continue to see it today.

What Dictated the Contents of the Soup?

The middle ages was a period of discovery since more ingredients were added to the pot while others were removed to gain different flavours of the soup. Changing of the various ingredients depended on the importance of that particular food item. If a specific ingredient dictated the flavour of the soup, it would not be substituted or left out as it would alter the overall flavour of that soup.

Seasons also dictated what was in the soup. Meats, for example, would be dried, roasted, salted, smoked, and preserved for the winter. But it would be monotonous to eat soup with one main ingredient day after day. That’s why in summer, all that would change with the coming of cultivated grains and vegetables, wild plants in wide varieties, and fruits of all kinds were harvested in the summer.

Soup and the Evolution of Restaurants

The modern restaurant is based on soup. In the 16th century, the French began using the word restaurant to refer to the soup that was sold by vendors in the streets. This soup was advertised as “restoratif” meaning to restore. It was a typical dish sold to help restore energy or heal fatigue.

A Parisian Entrepreneur known as Boulanger invested in a shop that used to serve soup, restoratifs, and eggs. As such, the word restaurant became attached to a place where you could go to buy and eat ready food.

The first luxury restaurant was also opened in France in 1786. It paved the way for Gastronomic cooking styles. This went ahead to define soup from its region. Clear soups were referred to as consommes or bouillons while thick soups were classified as purees, veloutès, and bisques.

Bisques, in particular, were mainly made from shellfish or other seafood.

Soup in the 18th -19th Century

Every culture had its version of soup. From the French Onion to the Russian Borscht, Spanish Gazpacho, New England Chowder, Chinese Won Ton, Campbell’s tomato, Japanese miso, and Italian Minestrone, every soup had its unique flavour regarding its place of origin.

These soups reflected the pride of a specific region while some represented national heritage. They also speak about the foods available in a particular region, and that every nation has a soup they can call their own.

In the same period, specifically 1897, a chemist, Dr. John T. Dorrance invented Campbell’s Condensed soup when working at the same company. This discovery led to what we now call canned soup that is ready-to-eat. The volume of the soup is simply doubled by adding a can full of water or milk. This kind of soup comes at a lower price. It does not require any more cooking other than heating it in a pan.

Canned soup also makes an excellent base for most soups as you can recook it with additional ingredients like meat and vegetables.

Soup in the 20th Century

The invention of canned soup made it more portable. It was referred to as pocket soup which was popular with travelers. These soups also fed soldiers and cowboys while out in combat territory where transporting food was nearly impossible.

Dried Soup

With the technological advancements of the 20th century, soup with an array of variations was invented. Bouillon cubes were the first dried soups. They did not require any refrigeration but the soup resulted in a viscous liquid.

In 1958, Japan’s Nissin Foods developed dried ramen noodle soup. They used a nest of dried noodles and dried soup stock. These ingredients come together nicely where you just add boiling water and becomes standard delectable soup.

Dried noodle soups also include ramen which is marketed as convenient instant meals which also require hot soup.

In Europe, dried soups are in a variety including chicken base, vegetables, pasta, potato, and cheese flavours.

By the 1990s the canned soup industry had ballooned to include soups that did not need any more cooking or adding water as they came in non-condensed versions.

The invention of microwaves and microwaveable bowls has made soup eating convenient more so in workplaces.

As consumers complain about the added salt and lack of fibre, manufacturers are now making reduced-salt versions and high fibre soups to meet dietary restrictions.

Some of the most popular soups are Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Cream of Mushroom, and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup introduced in 1934.

Restorative Power of Soup

Soup is considered the ideal comfort food for common ailments. Chicken soup is popular for the common cold. It has been used during cold weather since the 13th century. The hot steam from chicken soup is believed to help clear sinuses, while the soup itself keeps you hydrated. Broth soups, on the other hand, are taken for upset tummies.


Here’s a short table on different types of soup and their Origin

Soup Origin Main Ingredients
Bouillabaisse France Fish, clams, and lobster
Brown Windsor Soup England Beef or lamb steak, bouquet garni, parsnips, carrots, leeks, and Madeira wine
Corn Chowder United States Corn, potatoes, bacon, and all-purpose flour, white cheddar, and heavy cream
French Onion Soup France Onion and beef broth topped with gruyere cheese and croutons
Cullen Skink Scotland Smoked haddock, onions, potatoes, and cream
Ezogelin Soup Turkey Red lentils, onion, bulgur, garlic, onion, salt, black and white pepper, and peppermint
Vichyssoise United States Creamy leek and potato soup served with chives
Tortilla Soup Mexico Fried corn tortilla pieces cooked in a broth of tomato
Tomato Bisque France Tomato soup and heavy cream
Seafood Chowder Ireland Mussels, salmon, scallops, and shrimp, cooked in a cream base



The soup industry has thrived from humble beginnings to become a billion-pound industry. All the way from being a bone broth in the Neanderthal age to the finest restaurant, homemade soups, and canned soups that grace modern cuisine.

Soup is probably the best warming food on the planet. Now you know how it was created.









The Most Popular Soups of All Time

The culinary evolution goes way back to the invention of fire to roasting, and cooking after the invention of pottery and waterproof containers. True to that, soup making is the top achievement for the best comfort food in cold weather. It warms you, soothes your body, relaxes your mind, and even lifts your expectations before the main meal.

These most popular soups have been unshakable from the middle ages to now grace modern dining. You will find famous homemade soups alongside traditional favourites that come in excellent combinations.

Tortilla Soup

This soup is a classic in Mexico City. It has an intriguing taste that has made it a favourite around the world, particularly in California. This soup is flavour-filled using roasted corn. Vibrant colours and tantalising aromas accompany it.

In Mexico, you’ll find it simplified into tortilla pieces cooked in chicken broth alongside tomatoes, garlic, onion, and chilli. The tortilla pieces are fried to create a wonderfully satisfying soup.

In other places, this soup has had variations by using a tomato base that is thickened by the tortilla strips. You’ll also find this soup prepared with beans alongside the crunchy tortilla pieces.

This soup is thought to be as old the 19th century as its popularity allowed it to make a name wherever it was cooked.


In the Mediterranean, Bouillabaisse is the most famous soup. It is a complex fish soup with an origin from the French Coastline in the Port City of Marseille. This soup was introduced by the Marseille fishermen who made a stew using bony rockfish that they could not sell to the market or restaurants.

Bouillabaisse is a soup based on fish and seafood. The fish are mostly from rocky cliffs or the Calanques of the Marseille Coast. The basic Bouillabaisse soup uses scorpionfish which gave it its characteristic red colour. But orange fish is not readily available that’s why you will find other fish like John Dory, Red Mullet, Weever fish, and Moray Fish being used.

Other ingredients for this soup include potatoes, saffron, fennel, onions, a dash of pastis, carrots, peas, and tomatoes. This soup is usually served in two courses. The first is the soup where the fish is boiled in, followed by the stew which includes the fish, potatoes, and peas topped with garlic croutons.

You can also find chefs serving this soup with a long slice of focaccia bread or a toasted bread.


This is a thick vegetable soup of Italian Origin. Rice or pasta are included in the recipe to make it a more satiating dish. This soup is now a popular pick in North America thanks to its numerous health effects. It uses high-nutrient vegetables like celery, carrots, beans, onions, and pasta. This soup can double up as your lunch, and when you add meat products, it can be eaten with toasted bread to make a full meal.

The variations of this soup continue to appear as you are free to include any vegetables as long as you include a type of pasta and call it minestrone.

New England Clam Chowder

We have sung praises about this soup time and time again. It exposes us to New England culture, and if you are just visiting, you will leave with much more to experience besides the rich history. In Autumn, this soup is the most common, and it is associated with the colours of the season.

New England Clam Chowder is a cream or tomato-based soup. Its popularity goes beyond the boundaries of New England to be enjoyed in beautiful varieties like the Manhattan Chowder, Long Island Chowder, and Rhode Island’s Clam Chowder.

The main ingredients are clams, onions, potatoes, and some form of pork. New England style uses heavy cream and milk for the base alongside potatoes, onions, and salt pork. The milk and heavy cream give it its distinct white colour.

Manhattan style is recognised by its red colour as it uses tomatoes and tomato paste. It also includes a variety of vegetables including celery, carrots, garlic, and onions, to improve the flavour.


This is perhaps the best known Spanish dish. It has influences from Greece, Rome, and even Arab culture. It is a vegetable or fruit-based soup usually served cold because of the scorching weather in Andalusia its place of origin.

This soup is the perfect summer food since it is not only refreshing but also very nutritious. You can serve it in a Spanish themed dinner using its most popular version ingredients. These are tomatoes, garlic, bread olive oil, and vinegar. Variations of this soup include course bread, garlic, grapes, almonds, and olive oil.

A sophisticated version of Gazpacho has lots of additional ingredients like green peppers, jalapeno, cucumber, red onion, lime juice, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.


This is a time-honoured soup with its origin in Ukraine. The soup consists of fresh beetroots, potatoes, onions, carrots, beef shank, dill, cabbage, and sour cream. This soup is usually served hot but it can also be eaten cold. Most people prefer it hot. It has a unique red colour that comes from the use of beetroots. The vegetables are rich in vitamin C as they are chosen from fresh ingredients to satisfy a nutrient-rich dish.

Borscht is popularly served with hearty sides like pumpernickel toast with a butter spread. It can also be served with flavourful sandwiches or colourful salads. The soup can even be paired with steaming hot potatoes.

Tom Yum

This is a hot and sour soup from Thailand. This soup is not only loved in Thailand, but it is also served in many fine restaurants around the globe. This soup is cooked using shrimp and its own broth. It introduces a variety of flavours textures and ingredients that are unlike any other seafood.

The traditional Tom Yum is a sweet infusion of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal boiled with shrimp and fresh Thai chillies. This combination creates a soothing soup that will light up your taste buds.

Apart from the shrimp broth version, there’s also the creamy version which uses milk as the base. But the final result has the unique Tom Yum taste achieved from kaffir lime juice, galangal, and lemongrass.

French Onion Soup

This soup originates from Paris France. Onions are caramelised to make a heart-warming soup of onions and beef stock. It also includes grilled and grated Comte Cheese and toasted bread. These ingredients are then broiled to perfection making it a French treasure. This soup was first cooked over 8000 years ago and is attributed to King Louis XV who on coming back from the war made a meal from onions, butter and Champagne.

This soup has been deemed as a hangover cure. It was mostly eaten by people leaving nightclubs to cure their hangover. Today, this soup remains an appetiser as it combines a rich taste of caramelised onions and the salty beef broth that balances out other foods. It can be served with tuna dishes, rich steaks and other meat courses.

Pho Soup

This is a Vietnamese noodle soup. More people are eating this soup owing to its heavy aroma and rich taste. The soup is thought to have first appeared in Northern Vietnam at the turn of the 20th century. The classic Pho soup is a fusion of rice noodles that are topped with slices of raw beef cooked by adding spiced beef broth. The soup is topped with cilantro, fresh herbs, and cilantro. It can also be served with hot chillies and crunchy bean sprouts.

This food is loved as a breakfast dish. It can also serve as a good pick for late night dining.


This soup is traditional cuisine for the Greeks. It has the vegetarian aspect to it as it involves the use of beans, celery, and carrots as the main ingredients. This soup is healthy and an excellent pick for winter evenings. It is rich in fibre thus a nice way of staying full for longer.

In Greece, the soup was considered an ingenious way of stretching a meal so that it can feed the whole family. Today, the soup is one of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet thanks to its low calories and high-nutrient content.

The original Fasolada is prepared using white beans which have soaked overnight. This is because the soup has to be cooked for long for the flavours to develop. We discourage using canned beans since the soup will cook fast which will not give it enough time to build the Fasolada texture and taste. The soup is served with Greek Feta Cheese, Kalamata Olives, and a crusty piece of bread.


As the frigid weather sets in, everyone has their favourite comfort. Soup is the most beloved during such times as it warms you from the inside out. Although these soups are from around the world, we have found a way of including their recipes to today’s dining. They are famous not only because of their health benefits but also because they have lots of variations where you can tweak the recipe to suit your style.

Let these soups warm you up.




Weirdest Soups of All Time

Soup is one of the oldest dishes, dating back centuries. It is believed to be an easy dish that is easily digested. Not only that, we all love the warming effects soup has on our bodies during the winter months.

Unlike the classic grandma’s chicken soup or sophisticated Salmon Chowder soup, soup takes a weird turn in different parts of the world. You won’t believe what is considered a delicacy in these soups.

Menudo Soup

A traditional Mexican must-have in celebrations, Menudo soup, is a spicy soup made from tripe which is the stomach lining of a cow. It is a favorite for curing hangovers as it warms up nicely the morning after a drinking spree.

This soup is popular in family gatherings as all family members prepare it. It is viewed as the base for social interactions, especially during wedding receptions. The families of the bride and groom take the soup before and after visiting each other’s family.

The most common method of making Menudo soup involves spicing it up with dried chillis, and Menudo Blanco is used to ward off the stronger pepper flavour. Menudo soup is served with lots of garnishes like onion and cilantro. Not forgetting radishes or avocado to soak up the soup.

Bird Nest Soup

This soup is not only a delicacy in China but also very expensive. The Chinese have enjoyed this type of soup for over 400 years. And from the look of things, it does not seem to be going anywhere.

Birds nest soup is from the nests of swiftlet birds indigenous to South East Asia. Since the nests are held together by saliva, it becomes gelatinous with water. The hardened saliva has calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. It is believed to have medicinal effects including increased libido, improved immune system, and aiding in digestion.

The demand for bird nests soups is always in high demand in China since a bowl can be as expensive as £23-£73. A kilo of bird’s nest can go for £1450, so you can’t fault the price of one serving. The cost of the bird’s nest depends on the grade and the bird’s diet. The colour of the nests also differs from white to dark brown.

Shirako Soup

Also known as cod’s milk soup, this is the weirdest soup yet. It comes from the sperm sac of the male codfish. The sperm sac is cooked until it melts into chowder or like chicken broth becoming creamy. It is a taste you may not want in your mouth but if you are the exotic adventurer why not go for it? The Japanese find it delicious, and like the Birds Nest soup, it is known to increase libido and stamina in bed.

Vietnamese Blood Soup

In Vietnam, it is known as Tiet Cahn soup. Fresh blood from ducks, pig, or geese is collected into a bowl and mixed with fish stock to prevent coagulation. The meat parts of the soup consist of duck innards which are cooked with coriander, mint, and other herbs and topped with peanuts. The water from the cooked meat is mixed with the blood and allowed to settle.

This soup is accompanied by rice wine or a strong alcoholic drink.

Kiburu Soup

This soup originates from the people of the Chagga tribe from the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Their source of livelihood is from bananas and coffee, and these are the two main ingredients that make this soup. They also add beans, dirt (earth) and twigs. The dirt adds an earthiness flavour which makes it unique to their tribe.

Iguana Soup

This soup is a favorite in Nicaragua. Although it is hot and humid most time of the year, you cannot fail to spot men indulging in this delicacy. It is also said to be an aphrodisiac and a hangover cure. Iguana is considered a chicken so you can expect the soup to taste like chicken. The entire corpse of the iguana is served in the bowl.

Iguanas are now an endangered species in Nicaragua, and there’s a law against hunting iguanas from January to April. Otherwise, locals enjoy this soup topped with onions, carrots, mint, and chayote. They say it is tastier than chicken; no wonder you will find it served in every local restaurant.

Beer Soup

This soup originated in Germany, Central Europe around the middle ages. It is just as the title indicates, soup made from beer. The soup was a breakfast staple for a young ruler of Brandenburg Prussia, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm. This soup consisted brown or dark beer, fat, cream, and egg yolk or flour. It was later made to include cheese and onions when the soup needed to be more substantial so that it would be eaten with toast.

This soup is now a classic in fine restaurants in Wisconsin as beer and cheese soup. Surprisingly, this soup is no longer served in modern Germany. But in Wisconsin, it is celebrated as quick and easy soup that can also be elevated with the finest ingredients like cheddar cheese that is as old as ten years.

Beer soup is now cooked with less beer and with other conventional ingredients like chicken broth, plain flour instead of egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, low-fat milk and of course cheddar cheese. It also includes veggies like celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and herbs for seasoning. Beer soup is commonly taken with popcorn toppings.

Bat Soup

Bat soup is a delicacy in Cambodia. You wouldn’t imagine finding this hairy animal in a meal but the district of Kandal Province, Cambodia, has found a way brew it in soup. This soup is also known to cure particular ailments because of its medicinal properties. The bat’s blood is believed to cure respiratory illnesses while the eyeballs are said to cure eyesight problems

In Cambodian restaurants, the bat is served in the same way lobster is served in Mediterranean seafood restaurants. The bats are presented in a cage, and you get to choose the one for your soup. It can also be served raw if your stomach can take it, but most people prefer bat in soup.

The bat’s flavour is influenced by what the bat has been eating before its death so you can expect a new flavour every time you order bat soup. The bat is served with onion, coconut cream, and soy sauce sides.

The method of preparation is perhaps the weirdest since a live bat is thrown in a pot of boiling water before the other vegetables are added. When the bat is cooked through, it is removed from the pot and skinned. The meat and any other parts you may want in the soup boil again before serving.

Supu Soup

Just like Menudo soup, Supu is prepared using many parts of an animal’s gut. This soup originates from Tanzania, and it is from a goat’s liver, lungs, intestines, tongue, and stomach. It also includes the goat’s head and cow’s hooves which are cooked differently. The meats from the goat’s stomach and the soup from the head and hooves are then served together in a bowl to make a traditional breakfast. This soup is said to cure hangovers.

Tiger Penis Soup

This is a rare indulgence as tiger penis is not easy to find. This soup is enjoyed in Asian Cultures mostly because it is believed to carry strong aphrodisiac properties. A bowl of Tiger penis soup can go for around £300 which goes to say how rare it is to find a tiger penis which is the main ingredient of the soup.

The tiger penis is dried and then soaked in water for a week. It is then simmered in a pot for up to 24 hours alongside other spices like tiger bone, spices, and other medicine.

Since tigers are endangered species, you may be duped to believe the soup you are taking is made from tiger penis yet it’s from deer or ox. That’s why eating tiger penis is illegal in China.

Chicken Testicle Soup

This is another unusual soup. It is for anyone with exotic taste buds as it is not your typical chicken soup. This soup has chicken testicles instead of meat. It is also cooked with vegetables and chicken broth until everything is tender.

The taste of the chicken testicles is compared to tofu when it comes to the creamy and soft taste, but they have a thin sausage-like skin. Some people compare the taste to that of undercooked eggs.

This soup is also believed to improve a man’s stamina in bed, and also help women get beautiful skin. These are some of the benefits that make it hard to resist. You will also find chicken testicle soup with either white or black testicles.


There you have it; the weirdest soups of all time. It may come as a surprise to many, but these soup are actually enjoyed in different parts of the world. If you have the adventurous spirit, go ahead and take on the taste once challenge across the globe. You will find more unusual soups including fruit soups, and deer placenta soups which we’ve not covered on our list.

Otherwise, these are the most unconventional soups we have found so far.