In Dominic Meo’s Dictionary of Agnonese Dialect, under the heading of soups you will find:
…1)…a dish for Christmas, main festivals and weddings: prepare a broth made with a free-range hen, as well as bread soaked in egg that is then toasted on the grill and cut into cubes, boiled veal meatballs, cheese and egg formed into balls and fried in olive oil, pieces of aged caciocavallo cheese and the hen’s innards, both finely chopped with the ndrejulètte; all these ingredients are put in a tureen and the very hot broth poured over it;
Dish for holidays par excellence, the “zuppa alla santè” was the most important course in wedding dinners that were mainly celebrated in winter, due to the forced inactivity in the fields at that time of year. But it is also the dish that emphasizes particular moments of the year, such as Christmas lunch. The origins of this soup are a little controversial, but it appears to have been invented for Napoleon’s soldiers, who were accustomed to French cuisine which was rich in a variety of soups. They asked the Agnonese to feed them “in the French manner”. The soup was so pleasing that it seems that it became known as the “soup of health” … as if it was a “Cheers!” to life!