Fact Check

Italian Wedding Soup Origins

Did Italian wedding soup gain its name from being traditionally served at weddings?

Published Apr 16, 2013

Claim:   Italian wedding soup gained its name from being traditionally served at weddings.


Origins:   A bit of lore asserts that what has come to be known as Italian wedding soup began as a dish traditionally served to the bride and groom at wedding receptions to impart to the
nuptial couple the extra strength and vigor to see them through the wedding night. However, that origin is naught but invention; Italian wedding soup gained its name not from the occasion that might bring it to the table but rather from the harmony of its

ingredients. The phrase rendered in English as "wedding soup" actually means "married soup" (minestra maritata) in Italian. Said mistranslation has led to a misunderstanding of how the dish came by its name.

While quite different from each other, meats and green vegetables go well together, hence the "married" aspect of the dish. Italian wedding soup contains meat and greens in a clear broth; the meats either sausage or small meatballs, the greens escarole, chard, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, rabe, chicory, endive, lettuce, or kale.

The modern Americanized version of wedding soup is far lighter fare than its progenitor, which was a rib-sticking dish intended as the main (and sometimes only) fare of the day.

Barbara "soup (and nothing but) of the day" Mikkelson

Last updated:   16 April 2013


    Gunn, Deana.   Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's..

    Encinitas, CA: Brown Bag Publishers, 2007.   ISBN 978-0-9799384-0-5   (p. 81).

    Johnson Larsen, Linda.   Knack Soup Classics..

    Knack, 2009.   ISBN 978-1-5992177-5-8   (p. 64).

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