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Winter specials: comfort food

By Tammy Lo

Published 1:08 PST, Fri November 24, 2023

During the winter, people often crave warm and hearty foods to combat the cold weather and provide comfort. A popular food during the colder month among families would be chicken noodle soup.  

The origins of chicken noodle soup date back centuries, with its long and varied history. While the exact origin of chicken noodle soup is difficult to pinpoint, variations of this comforting dish have appeared in many culture around the world.  

Broth-based soups have been a part of various cultures for centuries. In the ancient times, the Chinese were believed to have created various noodle dishes, and chicken soup which was used as a stock, had long been considered a home-remedy for various physical ailments. 

In Jewish culture, chicken soup has been a traditional dish for centuries. Often referred to as "Jewish penicillin," it has been valued for its perceived medicinal properties and is a common remedy for colds and other illnesses.

By the Middle Ages, the concept of using chicken broth as a base for soups had spread throughout Europe. Noodles made from grains were added to soups, creating a heartier and more substantial dish.

Soups were very prevalent in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, in such regions, lentil soups, barley soups, and other variations topped with spices and herbs were popular. As culinary techniques developed and trade routes expanded during the Renaissance, new ingredients and cooking methods influenced soup recipes. By the 18th century, soup had become a standard part of European cuisine. 

The Industrial Revolution, brought about innovations in food production and distribution, canned soups which could be easily stored and transported, became popular in the 19th century. This contributed to the convenience of enjoying warm soup, especially in urban areas. By the 20th century, with the rise of convenience foods, commercially produced soups gained widespread popularity. Canned, dehydrated, and instant soups became go-to options for quick and easy meals. 

Chicken noodle soup still does well today, in 2013 it was reported by Campbell’s soup that nearly 200 million cans of chicken noodle soup were sold. Canned soup continues to do well in the market today, with many costing no more than three dollars, the can of soup can be cracked open and heated up in a microwave or a pot above a heat source and eaten as a whole meal. 

Some notable brands of canned soups include Campbells Chunky soup, Amy’s, great value chicken noodles soup, Annie’s soup, and many more. The popularity of chicken noodle soup prompted Tim Horton’s, a popular Canadian restaurant chain to create canned versions of their soup as well. 

With the winter approaching, it’s best to cook up or purchase a nice warm and hearty bowl of soup to combat cold weather and provide comfort. 

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