Where there are spoons, there are soups
Soup as a dish arose a very long time ago: 100 years before our era, the Chinese already cooked stews. This was due to the advent of suitable dishes: bowls made of stone or clay could withstand high cooking temperatures.
At the same time, soups, more or less similar to the current ones, came to the kitchen only in the Middle Ages. Thanks to the cutlery, the soup experienced a rebirth – now it was not necessary to drink it directly from the bowls, catching pieces of meat from the stew with your hands.
Shti da türi
Since ancient times, liquid dishes have been in Russian cuisine, they were called stews. It was both a common word for all liquid dishes, and a type of specific “soup”. In the annals and books since the 16th century there are cells (pickles), borscht, shti (shchi), villagers (they are also saltwort), stews, talkers, tyuri, zatiruhi, etc. The simplest Russian soup was tyurya – often water, bread and onions; the most common – perhaps cabbage soup. They were divided into rich and empty. The first, rich ones, could be afforded by wealthy families, but empty cabbage soup (onions, cabbage, water) was prepared and eaten by simple people. However, everyone was united by fasting: cabbage soup without meat was equally modest in composition, regardless of the wealth of the hostess. For greater satiety, flour podbolka was added to the cabbage soup.
Borscht at the highest level
In the 18th century, the traditional set of Russian soups began to change.
The very word “soup” appeared in everyday life. At first it meant, rather, a meal as a whole. In the book “Stories about Tsar Peter” by Kurakin, one can read how Franz Lefort “gave dinners, soups and balls at his home.” Gradually, “soup” began to mean exactly the dish.
Broths and puree soup were added to the usual cabbage soup, borscht and stews in the same 18th century. They came to Russia from France, and although they greatly enriched and diversified our national cuisine, for a long time they were the food of high society. The common people were still content with cabbage soup, pickles and prisons. True, even among the aristocrats, traditional Russian soups were a priority. Borscht, fish soup, cabbage soup and botvini were served in expensive restaurants, the richest houses. Sometimes their preparation was the entertainment of the gentlemen themselves.
For example, Senator Yushkov arranged sumptuous dinners in his own performance. He cooked delicious borscht, literally “feeding his guests”, can be read in the book “The Daily Life of the Nobility of Pushkin’s Time”.
Russian soups were also appreciated by sovereigns. Peter I, Catherine II and Nicholas II preferred cabbage soup to everything else.
And over the past centuries, nothing has changed much: no matter how much new things come to Russia, cabbage soup, borscht, and okroshka with saltwort have not gone anywhere from our culinary use. It’s called tradition…