To look into the history and origin of Beef and Vegetable soup we really need to understand is it Soup or a Stew? Which then in turn leads us to, what is the difference between a soup and a stew? In many cases the distinction between the two may not be very clear.
A soup is considered liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but may be cool or cold). And is made by combining ingredients of meat or vegetables with stock, milk, or water.
A stew is a combination of meat and vegetables that have been cooked in liquid and served in the gravy-like liquid. Ingredients can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking. So for arguments sake we are going to say they are really one of the same…
The history of a stew dates all the way back to the Jōmon period in Japanese prehistory, between c. 14,000–300 BCE. Their pottery has the earliest evidence of what everyone now calls nabemono, or hot pot. It was then Hereodotus (Greek historian) who said of the Scythians (8th – 4th BCE) that they
“put the flesh into an animal’s paunch, mix water with it, and boil it like that over the bone fire. The bones burn very well, and the paunch easily contains all the meat once it has been stripped off. In this way an ox, or any other sacrificial beast, is ingeniously made to boil itself.”
Which is a very similar technique that is used today for stew however instead of paunch we generally use a Dutch oven.
So once humans learnt to boil water adding an assortment of food – either using pottery or paunches it really opens up the realm of stew and soup making. Boiling ingredients not only makes food taste better, it creates new flavors. Cereal grains and some root vegetables, when heated in water, break down, soften, and release starchy granules. These starches then thicken the cooking liquid, the flavors of the individual ingredients combine, and a stew is created.
Archaeological remains have been found to show Vikings were partial to a good stew and our European ancestors throughout the Middle East. Eaten by princes and paupers, stews have traveled across the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean and further. They have sustained cowboys, nourished a generation through the Great Depression, and have been a part of human existence for millennia.
A soup or a stew? Well you tell us! Our Beef and Vegetable Soup is a combination of pulled beef, diced tomato, corn, pumpkin, black beans, carrot and sweet potato. It’s hearty, rich and delicious, you’ll be hankering out of lunchtime. Only available in store for a limited time between July 7th – August 31st so make sure you grab a bowl.