Yes, soup has a month, and that month is January. This is fitting since this is the coldest time of year here in America. As temperatures drop, rain comes down, and snow piles up, a steaming bowl of soup is a nice thing to curl your tummy around.
There are all sorts of different soups to enjoy; literally thousands of them. Creamed soup, simple soup, plain broth, chowder, gumbo, bisque, and the list goes on and on.
Now, one may ask, “Why would we have a National Soup Month? What’s the point?” The point is to celebrate one of the oldest styles of cooking, and one that is still one of the most popular today. Many will point out that soup is the original fast food. It was sold on the streets of Greece almost 3,000 years ago. A bit of broth, a few lentils, a handful of meat scraps, and the vendors had an on-the-go meal their customers could drink out of mug.
Today, hot soup is an economical and healthy way to warm up and fill your stomach. The average simple soup made from scratch costs an average of $5 to make a pot large enough to feed 5 people. That’s $1 per person. Compare that the $6 per person we normally spend at the drive-through for a bucket of grease or a heart attack in a bag and you can see the savings mounting quickly!
If you don’t know how to make soup, National Soup Month is good time (and excuse) to learn. Start with something simple, like potato soup or split pea soup. These usually have only a few ingredients and are hard to mess up. The ingredients are also inexpensive yet filling, making them perfect for younger soup cooks just starting out on their own.
If you’re a slightly more accomplished soup cook you might tackle something a little bit more complicated, like Italian tomato soup or pumpkin apple bisque. These are soups that require pre-cook stages to prepare the key ingredients in order to achieve the right flavor or texture. Even so, They’re still relatively easy, and a tasty way to commemorate National Soup Month.
If you’ve never made soup served in a bread bowl this is a great time do so. Good soups to fill bread bowls with are beef stew, a thick gumbo, or clam chowder. You don’t want to pick a soup that’s too thin or watery, as it will simply soak through the bread. A nice, thick soup that can be described as a ‘sauce’ will be just right.
National Soup Month Challenge: This year my family and I are challenging ourselves to make soup from scratch at least 5 times a week during National Soup Month. The real challenge is to make soups that are different enough from each other that we don’t end up sick of soup by the end of the first week. Some of the ideas being thrown out so far are: (for dinner) potato chicken chowder, egg drop soup, seven bean soup, and (for lunch) tomato soup, beef consume, white bean soup, and (for breakfast) banana bread bisque, hot rice and cinnamon soup, and bacon and eggs soup (stay tuned for the recipe!).
Another fun and delicious way to commemorate National Soup Month is to get together with friends to trade recipes. I have several friends I trade soup recipes with and I always look forward to seeing what great gem they’re going to send me next!
Happy National Soup Month! And Happy Eating!