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The Most Popular Soup from Every Decade

Humans have been making soup for centuries, and no wonder: soup is so flexible—meat, vegetables, water or broth. Recipes aren't so much invented as evolved. Here are our favorite iterations of soup over the last century.

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1900s: Cioppino

Around the turn of the century, immigrants from Genoa, Italy settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. As fishermen, they combined their cooking traditions with the local seafood and cioppino, a rich fish stew, was born.
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1910s: Vichyssoise

A simple soup with a fancy name, vichyssoise is traditionally made with leeks, potatoes, onions, cream and chicken stock. It was invented—or possibly reinvented—in 1917 by Ritz-Carlton chef Louis Diat, who grew up near Vichy, France. Leek and potato soups were common in France in the 1800s, but Diat’s version was drenched with cream and served cold.
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1920s: Bisque

Super-smooth and creamy bisque soups suit the decadent roaring ’20s lifestyle. Our version uses a mix of sweet and savory white veggies, including parsnips and celery root, which looks stunning when topped with a bright garnish, like minced parsley or pomegranate seeds.
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1930s: Vegetable Soup

During the Great Depression, many households struggled to keep food on the table. Soup was the ideal food, since cooks could toss in any vegetables they had on hand and add water to stretch it, if needed.
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1940s: Tomato Hamburger Soup

During WWII, meat was often in short supply. One way households made meat stretch was by cooking it in soups, like this tomato recipe with a savory heft from hamburger meat.
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1950s: Cream of Mushroom

The ’50s was peak canned-food era, and home cooks poured cream of mushroom soups into casseroles galore. Did you know you can make it yourself?
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1960s: Gazpacho

Though gazpacho dates back to the eighth century in Spain, it became popular in New York in the 1960s. Tomato soup, chilled: perfect for when tomatoes are at their peak.
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1970s: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Slow cookers were invented in 1940, but they didn’t become popular until the 1970s. They’re ideal for households where both partners work.
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1980s: French Onion Soup

Steakhouses were wildly popular in the 1980s, with chain restaurants spreading through the suburbs. Apart from steak and potatoes, French Onion soup is perhaps the quintessential steakhouse recipe.
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1990s: Chicken Soup

In 1993, the first Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology was published, and a series was born. The books cemented the soup’s reputation as the ultimate comfort food.
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2000s: Cheeseburger Soup

In the 2000s, the high-protein Atkins diet surged in popularity. This decadent cheeseburger soup combines burger meat, butter and Velveeta. Yum!
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2010s: Instant Pot Pozole

The pressure cooker has replaced the slow cooker in popularity. In our time-crunched present era, the Instant Pot is ideal for whipping up pozole, the trendy, ultra-spicy Mexican soup.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.