Anyone for soup?

Are you a soup person? There are people who like, even adore, soup, and there are those who would not care if they never saw a plate again for the rest of their lives.

But while accepting that soup is liquid food, can it ever be as exciting as roast suckling pig or coq au vin?

If we are dieting, perhaps soup is a good option, although on second thoughts perhaps not, unless we make it ourselves.

Many restaurant soups come overcharged with butter and cream, and we can never really be sure what they contain, although a good stock should be the basis for any worthwhile soup.

Soups around the world

If you are German, soup is never far from your thoughts at mealtimes, and not to be served soup when invited to a German home will probably mean that the hosts are not keen either.

Eastern European 'soups' are thicker and meatier than the classic more liquidy versions, and, rather like Spain's satisfying 'sopa de pescado' (fish soup), are actually broths containing vegetables, potatoes and meat or fish.

Nothing is less appetising than a dish of watery fluid with only a sprig of parsley for decoration.

And if you are Jewish you will instinctively believe chicken soup to be 'mother's penicillin', a cure-all for practically anything short of a sprained ankle.

If you are Chinese of course you will eat your soup at the end of the meal rather than at the beginning.

Spain is unique for its cold soups: gazpacho, ajoblanco, aguacate, etc, and, particularly in the summer, these are hard to refuse.