Soup Can Warm Transy’s Heart and Soul

by Alex Cheser

Holy crap, it got cold. It went from 90 degrees to burr in a week, and one of my first thoughts was to get my hands on something warm like a good café au lait, a toasted sandwich and some soup. Soup especially stood out because not only had I just made some in my food prep class, but several people around me were getting ill and chicken noodle was in the caf several days this past week. It seemed appropriate to do some digging.

At the most basic level, soup may just seem like a stock or cream with vegetables and/or meat dispersed within it, but there’s so much more to it than that. Soup-making began probably as early as humans began cooking food and developing utensils. Throwing everything you’ve hunted and gathered into a pot is an easy way to cook your meal and make it tasty. According to Wikipedia, our word “soup” has passed through several European language evolutions but can be traced back to an Old German word “sop” which actually refers to the piece of bread used to soak up soup or stew.

As I learned in class this week, there are two broad types of soups: clear soups and cream soups. Clear soups are soups made with water, stock or broth like chicken noodle soup, French onion soup, minestrone, etc. Obviously, cream soups involve some sort of cream-thickening element such as cream of what-have-you, bisques and chowders. Some of my favorite soups available on campus are the French onion, cream of broccoli, and New England clam chowder in the Caf and the chicken tortilla soup in the Raf. I also have moods for Asian soups and like to find a good egg drop soup or miso soup.

Miso soup is actually what I prefer to eat when I’m sick, but some people swear by the healing powers of chicken noodle soup. I did some research, and while chicken noodle soup won’t cure you of the common cold, it does help alleviate symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, chicken noodle soup acts as an anti-inflammatory to your body’s neutrophils, immune cells that cause inflammation when you’re sick, and it also encourages mucus production to relieve congestion and limit viral contact with the lining of the nose. Honestly though, I would think any warm soup full of healthy vegetables and protein would be beneficial in this aspect. If people choose to continue eating chicken noodle, though, I have no reason to stop them. Soups have been marketed for curing illnesses since the 16th century, so it’s really nothing new.

If you are sick, obviously take the appropriate medications, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest, but soup can make you feel better temporarily. The soup du jour is always available in the caf, and it is easy and affordable to warm up some pre-prepared soup in your room. Just watch out for sodium contents, MSG and trans fats. Even if you’re not sick, though, eating something warm will make you feel better as it begins to get colder. It might even make you feel as good as that snowman-turned-child in the classic Campbell’s commercial.


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