Having soup before a meal may help you go slow on the main course
Once upon a time, the traditional dinner in Europe consisted of hot stew poured over pieces of bread. At the end of the meal, diners sopped the leftover liquid with the last piece of bread. The "sop" eventually became "soup". Before bread was popular, soup was considered the main course in the meal. It was a broth made from grains, meat and local fresh vegetables. Soup making began as soon as man figured out how to make waterproof cooking pots. The earliest soups were meat and vegetables and legumes boiled in water. The modern array of literally thousands of soups in different cultures began with the discovery of spices.More than 2000 years ago, the Chinese and the Greeks were selling soup as a fast food in wayside hotels. The word restaurant comes from a French word for a popular restorative soup sold in wayside inns. Soups were always popular because they were nutritious and easily digestible. It's a boon for housewives, who did not have to cook different dishes for the baby with the weak stomach and for the toothless grandpa.Soups mean different things depending on the word used. Broth, for example, is a liquid in which meat, fish, cereal grains or vegetables have been cooked. Stock, on the other hand, is a liquid in which meat, fish, or vegetables have been simmered and is generally used as a basis for soup, gravy or sauce. Porridge is a soft food made by boiling meal of grains or legumes in milk or water until thick. Gruel is nothing but a watery porridge.Potage is a thick soup. Thick soups derive their consistency from starch, meat paste, butter, eggs and cream. Chinese soups often add soybean paste or tofu to the mix. Chicken soup has some proven beneficial effect on the immune system, though it is not a cure for the common cold. Most commercial soups available as powders contain a high proportion of fat in the mix. Most vegetable fats is of the worst kind: trans fat and hydrogenated fat. Eating soup before a meal may help one lose weight. The volume consumed provides an early sense of satiety and sipping it by the spoonful provides a huge volume of sensory stimuli that satisfy the appetite without gaining too many calories.RAJIV M.