February 5, 2018
Growing up I never really understood why this was called Wedding Soup. It was NEVER served at weddings.
It was mostly served at home, unceremoniously.
The fact that it was unceremonious is a shame. It is a wonderful soup and, being honest, takes a bit of work to pull together. Both the soup, and the soup-maker, in my estimation, deserve a bit of attention.
Although it takes some work, it doesn’t require much in the way of heard-earned skills like frosting a cake or making pie crust. It’s just a bit of slogging through a series of steps.
This is a beloved soup among Americans of Italian descent. Interestingly, my in-laws who are actually from Italy had never heard of it until I made it for this blog!
Click HERE to join our mailing list and you’ll never miss a recipe again!
But back to the “wedding” part. I did a bit of internet research (thanks Google!). Actually, I hesitate to call it “research.” I’m old school. I remember when doing research meant hours upon hours spent in libraries looking at actual hardcopy materials. It almost doesn’t seem fair to sit on my sofa with my laptop and read materials served up by Google based on natural language questions and call it research.
The “natural language” part is interesting too. In the “old” days, if you found an article that was relevant to the research topic, you would look at the articles referenced by the author and find, potentially, other relevant articles. But they would all be older than the first article. This is where the “Science Citation Index” came into play.
The Index was a series of periodically published volumes that listed all the articles that cited a particular article in their bibliography. With the Science Citation Index, you could start with a relevant article and then work forwards finding all the newer articles that had cited that article.
Now I just tell Google what I’m interested in and I get a bunch of (almost always) relevant “hits!” Google is even nice enough to tell me how many hits there are and what fraction of a second it took Google to identify them.
Even when I’m researching a biomedical topic I sit on my sofa with my laptop and search the National Library of Medicine. The search language is a bit more arcane than the natural language used by Google but it still feels like cheating compared to slogging around a library. I can even have the full article delivered to my laptop so I don’t have to figure out what library has the publication I need.
Follow us on your social media platform of choice
So, what did I learn from my Google search?
It appears (at least it’s a plausible theory) that Wedding Soup is an inaccurate translation of Minestra Maritata or Married Soup; apparently so-named because of the way the different ingredients marry together so well.
Interestingly, my husband’s Tuscan grandmother would use up small amounts of different types of dried pasta, perhaps putting them into a soup or serving them with a simple sauce. She referred to this as Pasta Maritata because she was marrying the different types of pasta to create a dish.
If this theory is correct, I am perplexed by the inaccurate translation but, be that as it may, the soup is wonderful. I urge you to give it a try.
I like breaking up the work over two days, especially since I like to make a long-simmered broth as the base of the soup. My mother didn’t do this. Once the chicken was cooked, it was removed and shredded and the broth was used without additional simmering to make the soup. It shaves about 3 hours off of the prep time. But, since making broth is mostly hands off, and the improvement in flavor is dramatic, I simmer everything a bit longer before straining and discarding the solids.
If you have a favorite family recipe and a bit of a story to tell, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss including it in the blog. I am expanding the scope of my blog to include traditional recipes from around the country and around the world. If you haven’t seen Bertha’s Flan or Melinda’s Drunken Prunes, take a look. They will give you an idea of what I’m looking for.