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Soup is Year Round Comfort Food

October 6, 2014

800px-Tomato_soupIt comes in hundreds of variations. It can be used in cooking or as a meal or a snack. In the summer it’s a quick meal with a salad that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. In the winter it can simmer for hours adding warmth to a cold winter day.

Canned soup has been a convenience for generations. Campbell’s is just one of the soups made famous by taking basics and adding convenience of pour, add water and heat. Soups can be as simple as a vegetable or beef noodle soup or heartier with potato soup fixed with chunks of potato.

Traditionally it was a way to make use of the less tender meats such as from old roosters or, along with stews and chili, older cattle on the farm or homestead. Bones were simmered to add pieces of meat from the bones as well as adding flavor from the marrow. Vegetables could be added as well as rice, noodles or leftovers.

Soup nutrition of course depends what is in the soup. The biggest advantage to homemade soup is control of the ingredients in it. This can sometimes seem like a difficult thing but it really need not be. Homemade soup does take slightly more effort than dumping from a can and adding water over high heat but it doesn’t mean slaving in the kitchen all day.

Quite the contrary putting the ingredients in a crockpot or simmering on a woodstove and ignoring until it’s done can be quite freeing. You get to decide if you want salt and pepper or herbs for seasoning or how much of an ingredient is too much or not enough.

Soups are an excellent way to make use of leftovers. Simply clean out a coffee can or plastic ice cream bucket. When there is a cup of peas or corn or a small amount of meatloaf left over add to the bucket. As it fills to a ‘useful’ level take a can or two of broth (or jar if you make your own) and add the “fixings” to the broth. This makes use of food you would otherwise waste and throw away. You can also dice up holiday ham or turkey to use for one. You might even like experimenting – use large plastic ones and make one for turkey noodle or chicken noodle, one for beef noodle, one “whatever”.

You can get creative with “Italian soup” or “Mexican soup” too. Leftovers from tacos but not enough for another taco? Toss it in a collection for “Mexican soup” and serve with taco chips or ‘borderline stale’ corn chips instead of crackers or croutons, topped with cheese.

Soup is such a part of many American homes there was a designation of January as national soup month. It’s a tasty and extremely versatile light meal either with salad or grilled cheese or other sandwich.

Have some soup tonight. It’s good and good for you!

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