Tom Scott-Smith explores 'social history of soup' in essay for BBC radio

Posted:
13 May, 2021

In a new radio essay for the BBC, Tom Scott-Smith explores the social history of soup – the mainstay of emergency relief for centuries.

Tracing four soups and their inventors – from Count Rumford, the founder of the modern soup kitchen, in Bavaria in 1790 to Ellen Swallow Richards, MIT’s first female professor, who drew on a new metric, the calorie, to devise recipes in the late 19th century – Professor Scott-Smith suggests that what is offered has tended to be determined by current humanitarian ideas rather than beneficiary needs.

The essay draws on his recent book, On an Empty Stomach: Two hundred years of hunger relief, published by Cornell University Press. 

The essay was produced as part of Professor Scott-Smiths' work as a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker. 

Listen to the essay.