Who Invented the Soup? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Soup is a very versatile dish. It can be served regularly at home or in fine dining on special occasions. It has several types; you can have it with pork, beef, seafood, chicken, and vegetables. Honestly, throw whatever ingredients you have in boiling water, and you’ll have a yummy bowl of soup. It is also a comfort food for many of us. Sick? A bowl of soup will make you feel better. Sad? Warm soup can cheer you up. Heavy rain? Well, a bowl of soup is perfect for bed weather.

Because of its simplistic nature and health benefits, people worldwide incorporated soup into their daily menus. So there’s a good chance that you are enjoying a warm bowl of soup while reading this. And you may wonder who the brilliant mind behind this magnificent dish was. This article tried to trace the origin of soup.

Who invented the soup?

The first evidence of people cooking and eating soup dates back to the Neanderthals in 20,000 BC. They boiled water with animal fats and bones. The broth they created was the first version of a soup.

The soup’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Neanderthals
    Ancient Soup Bowl

    Ancient pots and soup bowls were unearthed in Xianrendong Cave, China. These bowls have scorch marks, which means they were used to boil soup or a boiling dish.

  • Roman Empire
    Soup Lovers

    Romans loved to prepare soups. So they created and shared different recipes for soups. For example, they made a traditional wedding soup called Minutal Apicianum. They also shared the recipe for Gazpacho with the people of Spain.  

  • Europeans
    Soups and Toast Breads

    Different variations of soups were made worldwide. For example, the Turkish used vegetables, Asians used pork broth, and Europeans developed a combination of vegetables and meat soup. They love to pour soup over hot and toasty bread.

  • Still, the Europeans
    Soup Spoon

    Ruffled dresses and stiff ruffs around the neck were popular back in the 14th century. As you can imagine, it’ll be hard for Europeans to drink soup directly from the bowl, so they invented the soup spoon.

  • French

    The streets of France in the 18th century were filled with vendors who sold “restoratif” or healthy soup. Restoratif was known to restore the health and energy of tired and sick individuals.

  • Dr. John T. Dorrance
    Condensed Soup

    Dr. John Dorrance invented condensed soup. His invention became famous because it is cheaper and comes in smaller packaging cans. As a result, the consumers only need to add water or milk to double the condensed soup’s volume.

When was soup invented?

Archaeologists unearthed clay pots with scorching marks on the insides that date back to 20,000 BC. These pots are the earliest signs of soup making among humans.

A brief history of soup

Soup is relatively easy to make. You can add anything (chicken, beef, pork, animal bones, vegetables, etc.) to boiling water, spice it up a bit, and you’ll have a warm bowl of yummy soup. Because of its simplistic nature, it is no surprise that the dish is as old as the Neanderthals.

In 20,000 BC, the Neanderthals used hot rocks to boil water. They used to cook the bones and fats of animals to create a drinkable broth. This is the first known version of the soup. Archaeologists found ancient pots with scorching marks inside. They believe that these old pots were the very first soup bowls.

During the Roman Empire’s reign, soup became a part of their daily meals. They loved creating new versions of it. For example, they introduced the Gazpacho recipe in Southern Spain. The Romans also made soups for different occasions, like the Minutal Apicianum, a soup for weddings. 

Since soup is very versatile, people in different places use different ingredients. The Turkish, for example, loved using vegetables. While the Asians loved to use meat and dumplings in their soup. On the other hand, Europeans were fond of combining vegetable and meat broth. They eat soup by pouring it over toasted bread. They will also lift the bowl and drink the soup directly from it.

However, in the 14th century, fashion evolved, and eating soup directly from the bowl became a hassle. Since people loved to wear ruffled dresses and ruffs around the neck, they did not want the soup to stain their outfits, so they invented the soup spoon. Until now, the custom of eating soup using a spoon is still practiced worldwide. 

In the 18th century, France’s streets were filled with restorative soup vendors or “restoratif.” It gained popularity because of its low price and its ability to restore the health and energy of sick and tired people. This is also why we eat soup whenever we feel sick.

And then, soup evolved from the streets and adapted to the fast-changing world. The market was flooded with easy-to-cook and ready-to-serve canned soups. Then, in the late 19th century, Dr. John Dorrance invented condensed soup. Condensed soup is canned soup but more, well, thickened and packed. It is also cheaper and comes in smaller cans that are much easier to store. So, all you have to do is ass a cup of water or milk to double its volume.

At the beginning of the 20th century, technology helped improve the soup industry. Instant and ready-to-go soups are now more rampant. However, nothing can beat the warmth of a homemade soup made with love and patience.

The soup timeline

  1. 20000 BC
    Earliest Signs

    Archeologists found the earliest soup-making sign in a cave in Jiangxi Province, China. They found pots with scorching marks on the inside.

  2. 14th century
    For Fashion

    The invention of the soup spoon happened because Europeans did not want to spill soup in their elaborate outfits back in the 14th century.

  3. 1786
    Soup in Paris

    Clear and soup was served in Paris’ first luxurious restaurant. Thicker soups were marketed as purees.

  4. 1897
    Condensed Soup

    Dr. John Dorrance invented the condensed soup, which makes packaging and storing soup easier.

  5. 1958
    Instant Soup

    Nissin Foods, a Japanese company, manufactured instant ramen. This is the beginning of much faster and easier soup preparation.

Where was soup invented?

Archaeologists discovered ancient soup bowls in Xianrendong Cave, China. These pots from 20,000 BC were believed to be the earliest proof of the invention of soup.

The importance of soup

  • Disease fighting

    Most soups are nutritious and can help you avoid diseases because they can boost your immune system. 

  • Can quench your hunger

    Soup can satisfy your hunger to think it is not a heavy meal. It can sustain you without compromising your health. 

  • Power packed nutrients

    Soup is not only budget-friendly but also packed with nutrients because of the vegetables that can help your body stay healthy. 

  • It’s comforting

    Most people look for soup when sick because it is comfort food. You can easily add their favorite ingredient since soup is flexible.

Soup by the numbers

  • 4545% of Americans believe that soup is a meal, but it’s not; it is just broth.
  • 3-4 Fiber is good for your body, specifically for your digestion. Do you know that a bowl of vegetable soup contains 3-4 grams of fiber?
  • B6To keep your nervous and immune system healthy, you must have a bowl of oat soup rich in vitamin B6.
  • $2,015The most expensive soup costs $2,015. There’s nothing exceptional in it. It is called ban mian or beef noodle soup. A restaurant in China was ridiculed because of its expensive (and unreasonable) menu.

Five facts about soup

  • Constipation help

    Not all soup can help you with your constipation. However, clear soup can help your tummy because warm liquid food is easy to digest. 

  • Budget friendly

    Soup can consider a budget-friendly food yet a nutritious one. It is easy to prepare and only requires a small number of ingredients. 

  • Shabu-shabu

    One of the famous soups of the Japanese is the shabu-shabu. It contains meat and assorted vegetables and is best with different dipping sauces. 

  • Cold to warm

    Soup is best when it is a cold season or when it is rainy. It can really always keep you warm, which can relax your mood and your body.

  • Your soup, your flavor

    Soup is considered flexible because you can cook it depending on your taste and available ingredients. 

FAQs about soup

  • Why is it called soup?

    Soup primarily came from the word “suppa” in Latin, which means bread that is soaked in broth. It also came from the word “sup” in Germany, which means “to make liquid,” and also from the word “soupe” in French

  • What defines soup as soup?

    Soup is a liquid food with meat or vegetable with stock combined with milk or water that is usually served warm or hot. 

  • Is soup a meal?

    Many people consider soup a meal, and one of those is the Americans. But in general, soup is not a meal. Instead, it is regarded as chunky broth. 

  • Are soups healthy?

    Yes. Without a doubt, soups are healthy food. Aside from its nutrients, it can make you stay hydrated and full. 

  • Is soup good for weight loss?

    Some people consider soup as one of their diet foods as a substitute for their carbs, but there is no evidence that soup can help you lose weight. 

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