Macungie, Pennsylvania is home, and ONE WAY TO THINK ABOUT IT is a blog by Catherine Gehman, educator. Her posts are designed to energize and inspire teachers in all stages of their career by simply giving - giving ideas that work for her, and by bringing attention to past and current expert voices in education.

It's All About Soup

It's All About Soup

The Power of Soup

I love soup.  It's easy to make.  It's satisfying to eat.  Best of all, it soothes what ails you. When Carole King sings, "...And nobody else knows how to comfort me tonight. Snow is cold, rain is wet, chills my soul right to the marrow..." I want to say, "Carole, here's a bowl of soup!  Now sit down, eat, and tell me all about it." Maybe way back in the Garden of Eden, Eve may have said, "Adam, Okay, we've had a long, unfortunate day. Let's just put the fruit aside and have some soup"  Right? No. I'm pretty sure that didn't happen, but I think you're getting the idea that I really love soup. Maybe you don't think soup is all that special, but perhaps you'll change your mind when you've finished reading.

Soup's Healing Powers

Grandma doesn't need to be a scientist to know that soup is good for your immune system.  Affectionately known as Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup has been a healing remedy for as long as chickens have existed.   Also, in Chinese cooking, it is said that when you simmer leeks, onions, turnips, spinach, kale, broccoli, yams, squash, scallions, and parsley into your soup, you've added the "warming energy" to the soup pot.  These foods aid in circulation which in turns warms you up. Add a little turmeric root to your soup and you've added an anti-inflammatory agent which is all the rage in the health communities right now but has been used in cooking probably since the beginning of time. Let's not forget one of the most important powers of soup,  and that is the community that happens around a pot of soup. There's something inexplicable that happens when you ladle steaming hot soup in a bowl and serve it up with some salad and warm bread to your friends and family. Whatever it is, it's something that makes people want to talk and be together. You can feel the endorphins flowing. Is there anything better than that?

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How I Got Hooked on Soup

A bridal shower gift changed my life.  I still remember unwrapping a large box and pulling out a heavy, large, shiny soup pot accompanied with a Betty Crocker's and Soups and Stews cookbook. I knew the basics of cooking, but I knew nothing about making stocks and soup.  A few months later here I was married and living with my husband in a chilly stone farm house as autumn set in. Although I was excited about my new life on the farm, and the maples and walnut trees were a sight to behold, I was lonely.  I was a transplant from Long Island to Pennsylvania and I really didn't have friends yet, and Steve was a farmer which meant working overtime in the fields taking off corn and soybean. For me it meant figuring out how to build a new life, and how to eliminate the incessant chill from my bones while making sure he had something to eat when he returned.  So, I hoisted the huge pot up on the stove and thought, "We'll, I'm not a big soup person, but I think it's time to learn." I carefully paged through my new cookbook and read up on how to make stock. Then, I made my first chicken stock. After that I tried out the beef stock, and then one by one I made a variety of soups that were featured in my soup cookbook.  I enjoyed watching Steve enjoy my split pea and beef barley soup. I loved ladling up chicken and wild rice or beef minestrone to new friends and feeling the joy of building community over soup. I was hooked for life on soup.

Origin of the Word

According to, "The word soup comes from French soupe ("soup", "broth"), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa ("bread soaked in broth") from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word "sop", a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew."  Bon Appetit 's article, The Etymology of Soup and Stew has some pretty interesting and rather saucy facts about the the link of the word "broth" to "brothels."  Take a look if you'd you like to know more.

The Joy of Making Soup

Whether it's six chickens divided into two soup pots simmering away with peppercorns and veggies for stock, rolling little meatballs for Italian Wedding soup, or chopping onions, celery, and carrot for mirepoix, soup's holy trinity, I fancy every aspect of soup making.  The nourishment I'll bring to those I love most is my main motivation.

My herb garden is a constant source of goodness for my soup as well.  I harvest rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, and basil. I bring them to the kitchen sink and wash them, remove the stems, and chop.  I cannot even describe the what the feeling of gathering up the chopped herbs and dropping them in a sizzling pot with olive oil and onion.  The marriage of the fragrances is pure delight.

There aren't too many secrets when it comes to making the best soup.  I just recommend that you begin with fresh, organic ingredients. They're a must in my book.  And, herbs right from the garden are a plus, but dried herbs are just fine. But the most important ingredient is…(Uh oh! Here it goes. It's corny and it's cliché!) ...LOVE!  There, I said it! It's love! It's love! It's love!

Get out that soup pot and make some love!  Wait a second. That didn't come out right. I mean.  Get out that pot and make some soup!

Works Cited

Dean, Sam. “The Etymology of Soup and Stew.” Bon Appetit, Bon Appétit, 30 May 2017,

“Soup (n.).” Index,

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