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Archaeologists Find 2,400-Year-Old Soup 108

Chinese archaeologists have discovered a sealed bronze pot containing what they believe is a batch of 2,400-year-old bone soup. The pot was dug up near the ancient capital of Xian. Liu Daiyun of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology says, "It's the first discovery of bone soup in Chinese archaeological history. The discovery will play an important role in studying the eating habits and culture of the Warring States Period (475-221BC)." No word on if the archaeologists also found the accompanying ancient crackers.


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Archaeologists Find 2,400-Year-Old Soup

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  • by uvsc_wolverine ( 692513 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @01:18PM (#34548048) Homepage
    So how does it taste?
    • That's what I'd like to know. I had no idea one could eat bone. Is it ground to a powder first, and then water added? Sounds like a good way to get lots of calcium.

      • That's what I'd like to know. I had no idea one could eat bone. Is it ground to a powder first, and then water added? Sounds like a good way to get lots of calcium.

        Bone meal []. Soup is good food.

      • If you ever buy canned salmon you're guaranteed to encounter bones in it eventually; they're edible despite their chalky texture. I believe bone soup just uses the bone as a flavoring/thickening agent, not literally as an ingredient.
      • by TheCarp ( 96830 )

        While I do believe that if you cook bones enough they do soften and can be eaten...

        I believe its more likely that they were cooked for the marrow. Check out the meat section of a good grocery store (preferably with their own butcher). They will have big beef bones labeled "marrow bones" for cheap. Toss a couple of those in a stew and cook until the marrow falls out.... I already ate lunch and thats making me hungry again....

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        I suspect they did not eat the bone. They probably were making broth with it just like we do today. You boil the bone and the marrow flavors the broth. The bone is removed before eating.

      • That's what I'd like to know. I had no idea one could eat bone.

        But, surely you're aware that making soup and stock often includes bones to simmer off the last of the meat or things like the marrow, right?

        I mean, the turkey carcass after thanksgiving often goes into a pot as the basis for a soup. Same thing.

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Every have, say, French Onion Soup? That's basically beef bone soup with onions and bread in it and topped with melted cheese.

        Obviously you can't munch on the calcium in bones much,but bones are chock full of nutrition. That's why dogs evolved to gnaw on bones. They're mainly after the marrow, which have lots of fat and protein, but even the bone walls have nutrients and flavor in them.

        What you do is boil the bone, skimming off the mineral scum that floats to the surface. It works best if you roast the bon

      • It's called gelatin [].
    • Probably vile. I had bone hotpot one time. I was invited to the restaurant by an acquaintance, and was horrified when I found out what the specialty of the house was. The bits of meat clinging to the bones were OK, but the tendons and other connective tissue were dreadful. I filled up on boiled vegetables, mostly. The worst part came at the end, when the enormous cracked-in-half bones were taken out of the boiling pot and given to each of the diners. Waiters showed up with plastic straws. I stood hor
      • Hurl!!
        You owe me lunch.

      • About 5 years ago, I was with my now wife at Chengdu, China visiting one of her friends. She took us both out to a fancy restaurant that served hotpot. I was served throat-of-cow, tongue of some bovine (cow maybe), pig brain, and some tiny bird eggs.

        Eventually, the textures and smell of it all forced a prayer to the porcelain Buddha. I shall never forget... and trying to forgive.

        • Cow tongue is a popular dish here in Portugal, and according to Wikipedia it's also used in Germany, Belgium, English and many other cuisines.

          And tiny bird eggs, what's wrong with Quail eggs? They're much tastier than chicken eggs, in my opinion.

          Never had pig brain, but cow brain isn't bad, and although not my kind of food, it's popular in many countries, including regions of the US.

          • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
            What's wrong with it is, much like a 5 year old that only wants to eat Chicken McNuggets and french fries, most people have a specific list of items they consider acceptable. They then shun anything different, and as time goes on, their pallet adjusts to what they are eating, so anything different is 'gross'.

            If you pay close attention, you can see this in your own eating. I used to hate tea. I hated all of it. It all had the same flavor and tasted like chewing on a mouthful of grass. At one point, I
            • Aspartame is worse for you than sugar, probably even worse than high-fructose corn syrup. The word "diet" on a label does not make the contents healthy. You'd do better to buy kosher or Mexican Coke, with real sugar that you body knows how to process. It's still not healthy, but better than the alternatives.

          • My brother, while living in Japan, would sometimes send me packages full of items from convenience stores/grocery stores/100 yen shops that he thought I'd get a kick out of.

            Many of the packages had no english on them, so I had no idea what they were until I ate them. ( his note did basically inventory what stuff he sent, but I had to guess which was which )

            Some stuff, like the squid and/or fish jerky was obvious, ( I have a picture of my daughter with dried tentacles hanging out of her mouth when she was t

            • Oh and ANOTHER snack I know of that is good is salty licorice fish. I guess these are common in Sweden ( it was a Swede who introduced me to them ) but they OUGHT to be available in convenience stores next to the regular 'Swedish Fish'.

              Thanks Internet for making them available ( though not conveniently )

        • I haven't try all of those, but half of those you mensioned. But I can tell you that for many Chinese food, if you don't wash cleanly or correctly, then it does taste/smell very bad. If it does smell that bad, then I'd say you should rethink about the restaurant lol. I'm from southeast China. And many as you might know, Cantonese eat basically everything. We've encountered countless times that food doesn't taste as it should because it's not well cleaned/clearing-smell. It's too much work for restaurant an
      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @02:22PM (#34549250) Homepage

        The worst part came at the end, when the enormous cracked-in-half bones were taken out of the boiling pot and given to each of the diners. Waiters showed up with plastic straws. I stood horrified as each of the diners stuck the straw into the broken end of the bone and slurped out the by-now-almost-liquified marrow.

        Marrow is eaten in almost all cultures ... it's full of fat and things that people find tasty.

        Examples include Ossubuco [] (which you can probably find pretty readily), roasted bones [] with the marrow still in 'em, and probably more (OK, those two examples are probably close to the same thing).

        Back when people didn't have the luxury of only buying the pretty bits at the supermarket, people basically ate the whole animal. I know loads of people who will feast out on tendon or pig ears -- it's not for me (I don't eat meat), but it's not really surprising that people eat it. Asia and some food-revivalists seem to be the last bastions of eating all of the obscure bits of an animal. The sheer number of foodies nowadays probably makes some of this stuff even more common.

        I figure if you're gonna eat animals, embrace the horror, and try all of the parts. Who knows, you could find something you can't live without.

        • by formfeed ( 703859 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @03:14PM (#34550200)

          Back when people didn't have the luxury of only buying the pretty bits at the supermarket, people basically ate the whole animal

          They still do.

          The difference is, traditionally people ate the good meat and turned the not-so-prime parts of exactly the same animal into dishes that -thanks to some creativity- made the rest of the meat tasty as well (at least for the locals). These dishes evolved into regional specialties.

          Today, the prime meat is sold and the rest gets rendered, combined with the leftovers of another thousand animals, and processed to turn it into fatty, protein or gelatinous fillers. This mass than ends up in canned soups, soup base, in sausages, ready made dinners, or as natural flavoring added to anything else. - Or if everything else fails, you can always feed it back to the animals.

        • Which I also won't eat.

          Let us know what corn cobs and straw taste like herbivore.

          Let me guess you meant that to apply only to others.

      • I was reading that and thinking... Sounds potentially GOOD.

        I'm thinking it might be your lack of enjoyment was much more the visual and mental image of the meal than the actual taste / texture.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Nope. It was the actual taste. After years of living in China I've had all the adventurousness beaten out of me with a truncheon. I ate all sorts of things that aren't typically considered food, and they were all not delicious. It's just with all these pretentious "foodies" these days, they do precisely the opposite: convince themselves that food is good merely because it is exotic. Camel's hump is actually not good. Sea Cucumber is horrible not really for the actual taste, but rather the godawful tex
      • Funny, how everything comes around. Today, bone marrow is probably one of the top "foodie" gourmet item. All of the celebrity chefs like Bourdain, Riepert, and others sing high praises of bone marrow and routinely feature bone marrow dishes on their shows.

        I am sure there are thousands of foodies who would have loved to been in your shoes at the dinner.

        • 1. the quality of being novel; newness; freshness
          2. something new, fresh, or unusual; change; innovation
          3. a small, often cheap, cleverly made article, usually for play or adornment: usually used in pl.

          Come on man, foodism is all about novelty. Those people can convince themselves that something is good merely because it is unusual. I had bone marrow without any preconceptions...heck I was even open-minded towards bizarre foods. It was awful. Just wait, a year from now, bone marrow will be back to be

      • by shermo ( 1284310 )

        Disappointed because I didn't like it,

        Probably the best thing I did when I was living in Korea for a months was to eat all of their food. They couldn't believe that a westerner would eat the same food they did, and were really impressed. I didn't like most of it, but I still ate it without complaining.

        I blame/thank my mum's terrible cooking when I was growing up and her "if you complain about the food you can cook tomorrow" rule. I can eat just about anything without making a fuss.

    • It should be served as leftovers. You know, tomb marrow will be better.

      OK, honestly, I think that was the worst pun I've ever used. I'll show myself out now.
      • It should be served as leftovers. You know, tomb marrow will be better.

        mmmmmm...... tomb marrow! glghglghglgh droool

    • Gordon Ramsey meet Wikileaks.

    • It tastes like chicken

  • It has a little wang to it.
  • It's like when Dogfish Head brewed up a replica of an ancient Chinese beer last year. A whole new world of food and drink that we've never experienced!
  • ...the truck stop Kwik-E-Mart on route 237?
  • Kings and queens and everybody else who flies, farms, and fights drank soup. It's been documented countless times and it comes to a surprise how people find it surprising to find soup remnants.
    • It's not a surprise they ate soup. It's a surprise we actually found some that old. Fossils stick around a while in the ground. Some metals, stones, etc preserve well. Soup? It's a rare find. If someone makes some soup, it's usually then eaten. If they died before eating, it would likely have been eaten by someone else, spilt, or otherwise lost or destroyed in the next 24 centuries. So yes, it's surprising to find old soup.
      • Well, they probably didn't eat it because it went bad, and then they just never got around to throwing it out. It's like that Tupperware container in your fridge.

  • I think SAGA used to serve this when I was in college. Or it might have been meatloaf. I was never sure.

  • ... they only had stone soup.

  • Big deal (Score:5, Funny)

    by jvillain ( 546827 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @01:39PM (#34548464)
    Big deal. I have older soup than that in my fridge.
    • I have dined at many Chinese resturants, and I cannot help but wonder what the MSG content of the 2,400 old soup is?
  • This joke brought to you by TV from 40 years ago.
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @01:45PM (#34548584) Journal

    This place is not getting a good review for service from me.

  • Primordial soup again?

    I think that's from a Far Side cartoon.
  • Just go to the Hometowne Buffet, why bother to dig all the way to China?
  • Stop putting shit in idle for no reason! This belongs under a real category!

  • Shouldn't order stuff by number off a Chinese menu

    Anyway at the local mall the hamburger place took an hour to serve me my fries. I guess soup would have taken a couple thousand years...

  • Researchers found a fly in the soup, so they sent it back. In related news, when the researchers were asked what they thought the fly was doing in the soup, they replied, "the backstroke."
  • ...,think "Should we risk it? There's nothing in the fridge and those expiration dates are bullshit anyway"

  • by Anarchduke ( 1551707 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2010 @03:15PM (#34550226)
    Eat your heart out.
  • "It was the first discovery of chicken soup in Chinese archaeological history. Unfortunately one of the archeologists on the dig was feeling feeling peckish and gnawed every bit of chicken from the bones. He will pay with his life."

    Liu Daiyun of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology as saying.

  • If you'd spent 4200 years in a sealed pot... you'd be soup, too!
  • I think we have the plot for the next Indiana Jones movie.

  • and so are the cooks and all their descendents.

  • Tastes just like momma used to make

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain