Soup is a replenishing and complete meal. Soups play a very important role on the menu and are served as an appetizer to stimulate the appetite for the rest of the heavier foods to follow. They can also be served as a second course after the serving of hors d’oeuvres. In the case of hors d’oeuvres not being served, soups are served as a first course.

There are many classifications of soup. You could make creamy chowder, cold gazpacho, chunky broth, silky bisque, or other types of soup. Everybuddy’s Casual Dining helps you decode and identify which kind of soup you’re ladling into bowls.

1. Bouillon & Broth – Many cooks and writers treat bouillon and broth interchangeably. This is understandable because they are essentially the same thing: a soup made from water in which bones, meat, fish, or vegetables have been simmered. Leave broth to simmer for long enough and the gelatin begins to thicken it, creating an intensely flavorful stock.

2. Purees – Puree soups are made by simmering dried or fresh vegetables, especially high-starch vegetables, in stock or water, then pureeing the soup. They may be made from dried legumes (such as split pea soup) or fresh vegetables with a starchy ingredient, such as potatoes. Purees are relatively easy to prepare and may or may not contain milk or cream. They are not as smooth and refined as cream soups but are heartier and coarser in texture and character.

3. Chowders – Chowders are chunky, hearty soups made from fish, shellfish, or vegetables so full of good things they sometimes are more like stews than soups. Many types of chowder are simply cream soups or purée soups that are not puréed but left chunky. Like other specialty regional soups, chowders resist categorization.

4. Bisques – A bisque (bisk) is a cream soup made with shellfish. At one time, bisques were thickened with rice, but today they are more frequently thickened with roux. Bisques are made basically like other cream soups, but they seem more complicated because of the handling of the shellfish and the variety of flavoring ingredients often used. Expensive to prepare and rich in taste, they are considered luxury soups.

5. Veloute – The French word veloute translated into English means velvety. In order to achieve the silky finish required, the mixture of egg yolks and cream is added just before serving. Once this has been added, the soup must not be boiled again, as it will take on a curdled appearance due to egg yolk coagulation.

Now that you’ve got all these soup definitions down, you can curb your craving by ordering a creamy butternut squash bisque or hearty beef broth for your next meal.