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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

From the restorative powers of chicken soup on a sick day to the warmth of a bowl of chowder on a wintry night, there is no food quite as comforting and emblematic of home as soup. Soup, as Janet Clarkson tells us, is the first true culinary creation of humanity, and it has made a long journey from the prehistoric cave to the kitchen table and the white linens of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Tracing its myriad reinventions through history and across the globe, Clarkson argues in Soup that it is the only truly universal dish—every culture in the world makes soup, and it is widely valued as a dish adaptable for any situation. From the swill of the poorhouse to the most delicately crafted consommé, Clarkson explores how soup got its name and describes the different roles of soup in Eastern and Western cuisine. Featuring the national soups of many countries and including an assortment of anecdotes and recipes taken from seven centuries of culinary history, Soup entertains as much as it informs, telling of how the history of the restaurant itself is intricately interwoven with the very concept of soup.

            “With enthusiasm and detailed research, Clarkson’s entertaining history is a nutrient-rich meal for the mind, sure to be devoured as happily as its subject”—Publishers Weekly, on Clarkson’s Pie

Click here for a special, limited-time offer for the entire Edible series.  

152 pages | 30 color plates, 30 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2010


Food and Gastronomy

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"Soup: A Global History is part of the "Edible" series of books.  The series is dedicated to culinary history, presenting the history of an individual food in each book. The volumes are slender, but filled with information, and written by a variety of food historians.  Each one is charming, informative, easy to read, and accompanied with photographs that are historical as well as contemporary.  The books are well-researched, but are light in presentation, and with humorous accounts of the human foibles that accompany food development.  Soup: A Global History is an informative and light-hearted book about soup, slender to the hand, but packed with history, facts, and stories."

Diana Serbe | In Mamas

“Helped by tasty color reproductions of old soup adverts, Clarkson investigates soups as comfort (chicken), medicine (lentils or, believe it or not, vipers) and weapon (‘Arsenic-laced soup was the method of choice of the serial killer Hélène Jégado (1801-52’).”

Steven Poole | Guardian

“The Edible series of books, with titles such as Tea, Sandwich, Soup and others, are full of fascinating facts but are almost small enough to squeeze into a Christmas stocking.”


Table of Contents


1   Early Soup
2   Medicinal Soup
3   Charitable Soup
4   Portable Soup
5   Global Soup
6   Noteworthy Soup

Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements

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