This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
Soups may be roughly divided into two groups. In the first group belong the soups that are always made from meat stock. These are the various modifications of brown and white stocks, bouillons, consommes and broths. In the second group belong the soups that may be made either with or without meat stock. These are the various modifications of cream soups, purees and bisques, of chowders and stews and of vegetable soups.
The Value of Soup in the Dietary
The purpose of soup in the meal is two-fold; first, to improve digestion and stimulate appetite by introducing at the beginning of the meal a highly flavored liquid food which increases the flow of digestive juices; second, to increase the variety of nutrients in the meal, or even to furnish the main dish of the meal. Stock soups are chiefly valuable for the first purpose. Cream soups, purees, bisques, chowders and stews are more valuable for the second purpose.
A heavy meal should begin with an unthickened stock soup; a light meal may well begin with one of the cream variety.