Soups form a principal article at the tables of the luxurious; being generally served as a first course ; though sometimes they constitute the whole dinner of those who are less opulent, under the mistaken notion, that such liquid is more wholesome, and easy of digestion, than solid meat. See vol. i. pp. 364-5. Such dishes ought, however, to be given with great caution to convalescents; as the large proportion of spices, wines, and other stimulating articles that enter into the composition of soups, cannot fail to oppress the stomach, to irritate the system, and not unfre-quently to occasion a relapse.
Portable-soup is a kind of cake formed of concentrated broth; which, being divested of all fat, while the putrescent parts of the meat have been evaporated by boiling, is reduced to a gelatinous consistence, resembling that of glue. This composition may be preserved, in a dry place, for three or four years: it is recommended, on account of its nutritive qualities, by Sir John Pringle, and may prove of essential service on long sea-voyages ; as it requires to be eaten with a large proportion of tables ; and thus, in some measure, prevents the attacks of that scourge of mariners, the sea-scurvy. - When portable soup is to be cooked, it will be advisable to put half or a whole ounce of this substance into a vessel containing a pint of boiling water, which must then be placed over the tire, and continually agitated with a spoon, till it be perfectly dissolved : thus, it will form an excellent and nourishing liquid ; requiring no other seasoning, but a little common salt.