Okay, I’ll admit I am getting silly here, but the whole concept of whisperer is silly any way. The idea that someone can whisper in a horse’s ear and make it behave just isn’t so. However, if you accept the idea that the term whisperer can refer to someone who knows a lot about a particular subject then a soup whisperer is a viable idea. Since I love making soup and eating it I decided I might as well claim the title before someone else does.
When and where humans first began making soup is lost in the mists of time. I suspect it may have started when someone found that if you put water in a turtle shell and set it near a fire you could have something hot to drink when it was cold. An accidental dropping of a bit of meat in the water would make it taste better. Once that was accomplished then adding more meat and various bits of grass, leaves, stems and tubers was only a short step to creating the first soup.
We know that in recent history, the past two thousand years or so, people had pots of soup cooking all the time. New items were added any time they were available and if someone came home hungry they helped themselves to some of the contents of the soup pot. A soup pot full of soup was a fixture in most kitchens until quite recently. It probably went out of fashion just about the time we started using gas and electricity to cook with.
Before gas and electricity became the cooking fuels of choice were wood and coal. Those big, heavy, iron stoves were hard to heat and most of the time a continuous fire kept them ready to use. Before the advent of those stoves the fireplace was where all cooking was done and the fire was not allowed to go out because it was too hard to start again.
In these circumstances keeping a big pot full of various meats, peas, beans, vegetables and herbs cooking was easy. Nowadays it takes a special effort to make soup from scratch so we tend not to do it much; which is too bad, because soup is a wonderful way to get our daily vegetables. A good soup base made with meaty bones has a good supply of minerals. Add garlic, onion and other readily available veggies and you have a powerhouse of nutrients in a cup or bowl.
If you do sometimes make soup from scratch you may have noticed that if some of it is put away in the fridge and then heated up another day it will have an even better flavor than when it was first made. This is because the process of cooling and reheating has allowed the flavors to permeate and mingle in different ways creating a deeper, richer, more complex blend of flavors.
I am a believer in good soup on cold winter days. For the next few articles I’m going digging in some old cookbooks, including my grandmother’s to provide you with various basic recipes for soup, beginning with the broth and a consommé for warming up after coming in from the cold.