From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Chicken soup is a soup made by boiling chicken parts and/or bones in water, with various vegetables and flavorings. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear broth, often served with small pieces of chicken or vegetables, or with noodles or dumplings, or grains such as rice and barley. Chicken soup has also acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and flus, and in many countries is considered a classic comfort food.
Traditionally, chicken soup is prepared using old hens too tough and stringy to be roasted or cooked for a short time. In modern cities these fowl are difficult to come by, and broiler chickens (young chickens suitable for broiling or roasting) are often used to make soup; soup hens or fowl are to be preferred when available.