Joined Jul 31, 2000
If we were to go by europeon tradition,a compilation of the sort began with soup. In my view soups were derived from cooking meats and veggies. Making soup was a way of taking advantage of rich meats, cooking stocks and using leftovers.

Although soups were simple and popular,most of the early recipes are found in cookbooks destined for the wealthy households.

Any thoughts?


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Interesting. I would assume that most of the recipes come from wealthy families because those were the recipes that survived. I imagine that most recipes were handed down verbally, seeing that in earlier times most of the peasants were illiterate. I would think that soups would abound in the less well off. It is a great way to stretch meager amounts of meat, use leftovers and disguise some of the less palatable cuts of meats and organ meats.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Cookbooks would have been more a thing for the well off anyway at that time, no? So it's not surprising that the surviving data of the age reflect the wealthy and their items instead of the poor and their heavily used and recycled goods.

Joined Aug 29, 2000
I wonder when the first "peasant" recipes were acutually published? I recall my grandmother looking at me like I was lame-brained when I asked for her recipe for challah, kasha varnishkes, etc. You learned this kind of food from watching it being made, not from a book, as Pete said. I know The Forward , a New York newspaper in Yiddish for immigrant Jews, published recipes of homestyle foods because people were cut off from their families and wanted a taste of home.

Anyone know when the earliest "peasant style cuisine" cookbooks were published? Was there a link to political and economic events?
Joined Jul 31, 2000

According to Ayto (1993),the word is derived from the same prehistoric German root which produced English "Sup" and "Supper" From that root came the noun,"Suppa", which passed into old english as "soupe"

This meant both "piece of bread soaked in liquid" and by extension "broth poured onto bread" The word, with the latter meaning, entered English in the 17th century,joining the word "sop" which had already arrived sepretly and was already established as meaning the bit of bread that was soaked.

I'm sure Athenaues could shed more light on the subject
Joined Jul 24, 2001
I am not sure I concur with the statement above but if we take it for a fact...

We know for sure that cookbooks of late antiquity were addressing to professionals only. So maybe this is the case with the books of 16th century or 17 century as well.
Only wealthy people could afford a professional cook.
And don't forget something else! Back to 16th century the cook "passed muster" by the soups and sauces he was preparing :)


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Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I am not sure if any of you have seen it but there is an excellent article by Andrew F Smith (food historian) on ChefTalk about the history of soup.

The History Of Soup

In reading it is seems that broth soups were prevelant to all class of people but soups that actually had solid foods in them came from the wealthier classes.

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