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At East Ridge, without fail, there’s always a delightful selection of homemade soups on the life plan community’s daily menu.

It has almost become a trademark of the community! Residents sometimes opt for a lighter dinner and combine soup with a salad or take home soup for a casual evening at home. Guests are always encouraged to try the soup.

Since January is National Soup Month, it’s interesting to consider the history of soup. Food historians believe soup may be as old as the history of cooking. It’s been found that early Greeks sold soup in markets and on the street. They may have created the first “fast food” through this practice.

In times when food was scarce, dumping various ingredients into a pot to boil was not only cheap, it was filling and satisfying. The simple ingredients required to make a delicious soup makes it enjoyed by both the healthy and sick. Each culture has adopted variations using the ingredients found in their country. Think of the international varieties you may enjoy. It could be Spanish gazpacho, Russian borscht, Italian Minestrone, French onion, Chinese hot and sour or Vietnamese Pho, just to name a few.

In the United States, soup is also synonymous with the brand, Campbell’s. This company’s soup was started in 1869 when Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, formed the business that would one day become the Campbell Soup Company. Their first plant was opened in Camden, N.J.

Today, it’s not uncommon to purchase soup by the can. It can be found in microwave bowls and cups or created from a packet. Not only it is enjoyable to have a warm bowl of soup on a cold day, it is equally enjoyable to savor soup in hot weather. There are many soup recipes that highlight spring’s and summer’s bounty of fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs.

Soup is a quick, hot meal that offers plenty of health benefits. You can throw a variety of ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning before you leave for work or school and return home to a delicious meal in the evening. The healthiest soups include fresh, low-fat ingredients and a minimum of salt and extra fat. You can use up leftovers in a soup pot and create new variations of favorite recipes since soup lends itself to experimentation.

What are your favorite soup recipes that your family enjoys?