Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why we consume soup when we are sick

Food Diary (January 08, 2012)
Breakfast: missed
Lunch: Fried egg and sweet corn sandwiches
Dinner: Potato, tomato and okara soup, sourdough toast, cornflakes

Okara is the byproduct after soy milk is extracted from soybeans. I made some soymilk few days ago and it would be such a shame to waste okara since it is quite nutritious. It worked pretty well in the soup. I didn’t feel like taking a photo of the soup. It was nice to consume but not pretty to look at.

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Source: BBC
Ken Albala, a food historian at the University of the Pacific in California, has published research into why we eat soup to get better when we're ill.

As far back as the 12th Century, physicians were recommending chicken soup - known as "Jewish penicillin" - to combat a cold. Modern science has since found their instincts were largely right and it can be soothing and anti-inflammatory for those with colds.

But Albala's latest research suggests soup's appeal could actually be down to an "informal intuition" people have always had when it comes to feeding the sick. And rather than being based on science, it is more likely to be influenced by baby food. Soup's close appearance to baby food is a big reason why we eat it when ill, he suggests. Both are nutritious without being hard to digest, and the way both are prepared means they are "predigested" before being served.

The psychological links people have with food do stem from childhood, says food psychologist Christy Fergusson. "That is a connection we make on a subconscious level as we grow up, so when we want to feel comforted we look to what our mothers would have provided.

Diana Henry, a chef and food writer, says “You take soup to people when they're having tough times, there's something about it that means you give it to people in times of trouble. I think that's because it takes an enormous amount of care."

I never thought of this before but this article is so true. We think of soup during sickness. And when we want to celebrate soup is not something that is on top of the list. I had soup today but okara soup is not what my mum gave me when I was small. Actually today is the first time I tried okara soup, and I wasn't even feeling sick

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  1. I've wanted to try okara for such a long time!

  2. I believe in eating soup when you're recovering from illness. Especially the one they call 'Jewish Medicine' or Penicillin.

  3. I agree - I always go for soup when I'm sick or feeling a little low!
    Mary x

  4. What yummy chocolate frosting swirls!

  5. hi theree cookies, i for one never associate myself with soups when i get sick.. but i do associate my diet with hot foodies, that for sure includes soup-veggie soup, beef and potato soup etc..they kind of serve as appetizers.
    deicious looking chocolate toppings
    your okara soup sound delicious too
    have a nice day

  6. I love soups anytime of the day, they are just so warming.

  7. Interesting article.
    I think I had a steak the last time I was sick :D
    But seriously, I haven't been sick enough to actually want soup. The only reason I have soup when I'm sick is probably because I don't have the energy to make anything more complicated. Not a soup person ... chunky stews, yes. Does that count?

  8. Excellent! This is what I should do with two dishes I desperately tried to photograph this weekend and which almost drove me crazy. I have only used okara in a cake. I must test your soup recipe (I do have miso soup with tofu, so maybe okara would be a good replacement?).
    I think having a soup when we are ill might be simply very logical (sometimes the psychological research sometimes sound a bit far-fetched). First, soup is hot so it warms us up when we have a fever, secondly it is easy to swallow (no crunch etc.) which comes in handy when we are too tired even to get up from bed. Thirdly (and this is in my opinion our animal instinct) it means lots of liquid, and anything which makes us eliminate as much liquid as possible is according to doctors ideal during a cold.

  9. I've never heard of okara before, but maybe that's because I've never made my own soymilk. Super cool. I crave soup all the time, not just when I'm ill. Very interesting post!

  10. i've never heard of okara soup but i'm going to tell my friend about it b/c he makes his own soy milk and he always has so much pulp leftover! thanks :)

  11. i also found some really neat okara recipes from this blog!

  12. Hannah: I hope this has motivated you

    Hotly Spiced: Jewish medicine is a cool name!

    Mary: soup to the rescue

    Yummychunklet: it is yummy!

    Wan: thank you, the soup was delicious

    Raymund: exactly, with or without sickness

    ping: a steak followed by water or wine = soup in the stomach:) Steak counts. I think chunky stews count too – its chunky soup.

    Sissi: okara can replace tofu, though the texture will be quite different. Agree with your points, also the last one about eliminating as much liquid. On the other hand sick persons probably are too lazy to go to the loo so they will try to avoid soup. But they don’t. Walking to the loo is exercise which is sometimes good for recovery:)

    Joanne: thank you

    Junia: thank you for the blog address. I saw another site dedicated to okara but the one you mention is far more interesting.

  13. My mom makes great Unohana which has Okara in it. Is Okara Japanese word? I thought it was but now I'm not sure since it looks like it's widely used outside of Japan. It's very healthy dish and I should have asked my mom to get the recipe this time! I should have visited your blog before she left!