What's the difference between stock, broth, soup and bouillion?

While mrlucky was in retirement, webbots continued to burrow and find my hidden pages. Thus, a trickle of queries reached the lucky foundation, such as this missive from elfant1:

Hi! You are absolutely wonderful and I am hoping that your brilliance can tell me what the heck is the difference between soup, broth, bouillion and stock? Thank you thank you thank you!

Brilliance. Ooh, I'm tingling! Anyway, although I'm kind of retired, although too lazy to make my site inactive, I'm only too happy to answer your question, as I've recently been struggling with the creation of a satisfactory chicken stock. My sources include "On Cooking", by Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause.

STOCK is " a clear, unthickened liquid flavored by soluble substances extracted from meat, poultry or fish and their bones as well as from a mirepoix, other vegetables and seasonings. Escoffier, in his "Guide Culinaire", states that,

"...stock is everything in cooking, at least in French cooking. Without it, nothing can be done. If one's stock is good, what remains of the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or merely mediocre, it is quite hopeless to expect anything approaching a satisfactory result."

BROTH is prepared in virtually the same way as stock, but differs from stocks in two ways. First, broths are made with meat instead of just bones. Second, broth (often with a garnish) can be served as finished dishes, while stocks are generally used to prepare other items.

SOUP. According to Escoffier, the nutritious liquids which we call soups are of recent origin, dating back only to the early nineteenth century. Soup has been around in one form or another, however, as soon as man devised methods of holding liquids in containers. The Encyclopaedia Britannica begins its article on soup with this definition: "liquid food prepared by cooking meat, poultry, fish, legumes, or vegetables with seasonings in water, stock, milk, or some other liquid medium." Classifications of soup include clear soups, consommes, purees, cullises, bisques and vegetable soups. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.

BOUILLON is just another term for broth.

There you have it. Soup 101.

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