The History of Soup

By: Carole-Ann
November 13, 2013

It’s cold outside and as you sit down to a nice warming bowl of soup, do you ever wonder  about the history of your meal? The exact roots of soup are unknown, with more than one beginning in various locations. Food historians claim soup is as old as cooking, as it has served as a nutritious and tasty way to combine what ingredients are available into a easily digested meal for both healthy and sick people. Today soup continues to serve as a satisfying and nutritious way to fill and fuel.

Soup Timeline:

5000 BCE- Advancements in pottery allow ceramic pots and pans to hold hot liquids. People could now boil grains, meat, beans, and hard root vegetables and remaining water could be used as broth served with bread. *Note:*Some sources suggest the history of soup may actually begin as far back as 20 000 BCE in China where very ancient pottery has been discovered.


700 BCE- The Greek Spartans consume ‘black soup’ also known as the ‘soup of the heroes’ in the Iliad. The soup was white onion broth, and a mix of oil, acids, spices and vegetable juices.

400-1200s AD- Throughout the Middle Ages soup plays an integral role in diet. It was a flexible and inexpensive food option for the masses during the many food shortages during this era.

1300-1600- It was during the Renaissance that soup started being served before the main course, as many people felt that soup with the main dish made their plates too crowded. Soup preparation also began to progress as seasoning was becoming more available. The invention of the spoon also meant that soup no longer had to rely on bread, so it could be heartier and less of a broth. During this time vendors in Europe sold broth in the streets as a cure for physical exhaustion.


1600s- The term ‘soup’ makes way into the English language. Some sources say the word stems from the Germanic  Frankish word ‘suppa.’ Some claim that it originated in France from latin’s ‘sope’ or ‘soupe,’ which was later used in England for ‘sop.’ Others say it’s from a classical Latin verb ‘suppare,’ translating into bread soaked in broth.

1700’s- The word ‘restaurant,’ comes from selling soup! A shop opens in Paris that sells broths and soups, to restore health. ‘Restaurant,’ is what these soups were called, and this word became associated with places you could buy prepared food and sit down and eat.

Mid 1700’s- Recipes for soup appear in newspapers, magazines and journals. Soups begin to develop along with scientific and technological advancements.

1800’s- Scientific advancements allow soup to take several forms. Canned and dehydrated soups were becoming available and soup was now portable and easy to prepare quickly. Colonial travelers carried what they called “pocket soup,” which was easily cooked with just a little hot water. This type of soup was fed to the military, covered wagon trains, cowboy chuck wagons, and could be found in the home pantry. It was also during the 1800’s that soup no longer had to play on the side lines, and was being served as a main course.

Mid 1800’s- Canned food and soup companies and the selling of canned goods takes off.

1900s- With the increasing popularity of canned goods, canned soups become a common pantry item.

Mid 1900’s-2000- The popularity of soup remains with an array of variations being made and recipes being shared. Many varieties of national and regional soups become popular across the globe.  Almost every region has soup to share such as miso from Japan, potato soup from Ireland, New England’s clam chowder,  Scotland’s mutton and barley broth, North germany’s cherry soup, cabbage soup from Russia, Spain’s sopa, or French-Canadian split pea soup.

2009- Soup history is made in Ontario with the exciting launch of Ontario’s Own!

2013- Ontario’s Own’s delicious, healthy, and local line of soups has continued to be successful, finding its way into shops and many major grocery stores across Ontario. No longer should the prepared soup you have at home be filled with preservatives to store in the pantry. It should be found in your fridge, with no additives or preservatives, and local healthy ingredients!


By: Julia Modica