A good pot of stew has served families since man first lit a fire and placed a pot upon it. Waterproof, heatproof vessels go back somewhere between 5,000 and 9,000 years and were no doubt used to cook the family meal. Archaeologists have found evidence of a hippo stew cooked in 6,000BC! The soup also contained sparrows, lentils, and roots. I think I’ll give that one a miss.
Knorr was the first company to make commercial soup from dry ingredients. That was in the 1870s. It was a commercial success and in 1897 Campbells introduced its first condensed soup.
Soups and stews are closely related and sometimes hard to distinguish. The biggest distinction is in the amount of water they contain. Born out of necessity stews once served as a way to feed a big family with whatever food they could manage.
Today it is considered comfort food. Few would turn down a hearty bowl of soup or stew on a cold winter’s day. Soups and stews are also easy to make and their flavors depend on healthy, hearty ingredients such as vegetables, grains, and protein.
Dried and canned soups are also hugely popular. In 2017 the American public spent $6.9 billion on commercial soups. This is expected to grow to $7.7 billion in 2025. Americans love soup so much they consume more than 10 billion bowls of soup every year!
Take a trip around the world with soups and stews from an infographic with fifty different options. From clam chowder to Irish stew and Minestrone soup, you’re bound to find a personal favorite.