Thursday, 12 January 2012

Slurp …

If the guest bills in eateries are to be believed then the fact is that people are slurping their soups more than often.

The market is flooded with umpteen flavors and brands and customers are picking them up more like a DVD collection for their kitchen show-cases. Soups and soaps alike are a great hit in the family living rooms.

The unubiquitous soups are doing what they do best, that is provide ‘wholesome goodness’ since ages known to mankind. The mainstay nature of soups need them to be ‘eaten’ and is a meal in itself. The simple and practical food for all age groups
is simply irreplaceable; first foods for infants, nourishers for the old and a forte in all cuisines of the world. Soups are also categorized as the most digestible among foods. In olden times soups were eaten not only as an ultimate nourisher but also because it was affordable and easy to prepare. We have all heard tales of cold winter nights and a poor family huddled around a large open wood-fire waiting for their share of a large bowl of hot soup from the fuming cauldron which would be the only thing they would get before they go to sleep.  There are hundreds of such stories which exemplify the significance of soups in history.

Soups concentrate local flavors and essence from wherever they originate.  The diversity of soups available around the globe is exhaustive and interesting. Stock is the foundation of all good soups, which is made by putting solid food into cold water and by a slow cooking process extracting the nourishment into the liquid. Stocks can be made with meat bones and/or with aromatic vegetables in case of vegetarian stocks. Soups are essentially categorized into, thick or puree soups, thin or clear soups, cold soups, broths and even national soups. Borscht from Ukraine, Minestrone from Italy, Avgolemono from Greece, French Onion Soup from France, Hungarian Goulash from Hungary, Scotch Broth from Scotland, Chowder from America are examples of National Soups. It is relevant to mention that the importance of soups to a nation is such that a nation would invariably have a national soup if not a national dish. National soups exemplify the spirit, heritage and pride of nations. 

Soups also provide great scope for innovation, complimenting and contrasting flavors and textures. The subject can be a clean slate; cook the soup which your heart feels like and you have a heart-warming bowl of comfort food. Choice of soups change with season and your mood too ! Summers bring in delicious and bright cold soups like Gazpacho, Mango & Dill, Cucumber and Yogurt, Melon and Prune, Tendercoconut & Pakchoi, Summer Fruit and Cream and many more. It is also the time of the year for light soups like a Lemon Grass & Vegetable Soup, Wanton Soups, Green Vegetable Broths, Mint Soups. Summer soups are fun while winter soups are the serious kinds like the Double Consommé, Double Mushroom, Lamb Trotter Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, so on and so forth.
While eating your soup avoid the temptation of the extra dash of salt. The soup  you ordered ought to contain adequate quantity of the same. The extra seasoning may just about sap the nourishment quotient. But sure go ahead and dunk your bread it  makes it a pleasurable experience.

The liquid elixir fits into any meal period of the day with ease. It whets your appetite also goes well as a quick meal. It is the best thing to slurp as a snack when our digestive machinery is on snooze.

Soup and salad buffets have born out of necessity and are popular for lunches. The popularity of soups have travelled north also because it is the right thing to have as a light meal by health watchers. Soups have kept pace with times and improvised; the good old potato and leek soup has got itself a dash of wasabi, the hearty vegetable clear soup is enhanced with wakame, puree soups enjoy smoked recipes, cream soups come frothy christened cappuccino, Chinese soups come with Italian vegetables, so on and so forth.   The untouched-traditional recipes are also as popular like a Nihari, Miso Soup or even a Lobster bisque.  So when it comes to soups don’t just eat it slurr..pp it aloud !

Devraj Halder
EAM – Food & Beverage
The Suryaa New Delhi

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