Just to be clear, the holiday we’re talking about is National Soup Month. That’s right; it’s happening now – all month long in January. And just in time, we might add. With the Polar Vortex having descended on us, and who knows, maybe another one to follow, we can’t get enough of the warm stuff, soup that is.
Soups have been a key part of a family’s diet since what some historians believe to be the Neolithic Age, which dates it back to the last part of the Stone Age or 10,000 BC. This is roughly the period when nomadic tribes were making stone tools and pottery, and gathering food from figs to pigs.
Today, soups are actually divided into three categories. There are thick and creamy soups known as Bisque and Chowders, there is water-based soups known as Broths or Consommé, and vegetable-laden soups referred to as Chili or Gazpachos. Whatever the type of “base” you choose, soups are a fine compliment to any meal, and are often times, depending upon the recipe, the center of attention of a meal.
As great as soups might taste, we wondered if they really do have medicinal properties? Well, it turns out they probably do and there are a handful of studies that claim so. The most widely cited of these studies, published in the medical journal Chest in 2000, is by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He conducted laboratory tests to determine why chicken soup might help colds, beginning with his wife’s homemade recipe. Using blood samples from volunteers, he showed that the soup inhibited the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection. Dr. Rennard theorizes that by inhibiting the migration of these infection-fighting cells in the body, chicken soup essentially helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
We say give soups a try if you’re not feeling so hot during the cold and flu season; it appears you have absolutely nothing to lose. Why not start with this award-winning recipe to get the ball rolling: http://eatwisconsinpotatoes.com/rbook/recipe/view/3089.
And if you want to have a soup that’s the main course in your meal, try this hearty recipe from our friends at the United States Potato Board. It’s sure to fill you up and warm you up, too: http://www.potatogoodness.com/recipes/lightened-up-loaded-baked-potato-soup/. Let’s keep celebrating National Soup Month; who says we can’t extend it into February.