Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An Ode to Soup

Ah, soup.

There's something so soul-satisfying about it.

It's what our mothers instinctively prepared when we were sick.
It's the food you think of first, shared from the heart, to offer comfort to your neighbor when there's been a death or tragedy in the family.
It warms us.
It strengthens us.
You know she's a good cook if she can make delicious soup.


I like to make a pot once or twice a week. That, plus leftovers, keeps us nice and cozy on especially cold days. On New Year's Eve, we gathered with friends to share soups and salads and desserts. I was proud to serve mine from that beautiful soup tureen we brought home from Portugal a few years ago. That creamy sweet potato, corn, and kale chowder- from Terry Walter's Clean Food- gifted by Keith this Christmas with urging from me after checking it out from the library too many times to count- well, it looked so colorful and lovely. And popular, too, it seemed. It gave me a little thrill, seeing many go back to fill their bowls with seconds, amazed when I told them it had no dairy.

It's soup again tonight. Wednesday's fare.  A nice pot of lentil soup (again from Clean Food. I'm loving this book.) is simmering away and Isaac just commented how nice the house smells.

Wish you were here.

I'm also enjoying this book Jane gave me for my birthday: An Exaltation of Soups by Patricia Solley. I love the way this book is organized. Soup history, soup reflections, soup basics, with the bulk of the book sectioned into fun and interesting categories, including what country or culture each soup originates from:  Soups To Woo a Lover, To Strengthen a Convalescent, To Celebrate Marriage, To Celebrate and Recover From Giving Birth, holidays and festivals, etc.

I'll close with these "soupy" reflections and musings.
(Enjoyed best while sipping a warming bowl of soup, of course!)

It breathes reassurance,
It offers consolation;
After a weary day, it promotes sociability.
There is nothing like a bowl of hot soup.
~Lois Degouy

Whenever I sit with a bowl of soup before me, listening to the murmur that penetrates like the distant song of an insect, lost in contemplation of the flavors to come, I feel as if I were being drawn into a trance.
~Junichiro Tanizaki, twentieth-century Japanese novelist, In Praise of Shadows

Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give you a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who is also capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests?...Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?
~Miss Manners (Judith Martin), contemporary American etiquette columnist

Whoever tells a lie cannot be pure in heart- and only the pure in heart can make good soup.
~Ludwig van Beethovan, German composer in a letter to Mme. Streicher in 1817

There are two types of people in this world: shlemiehls and shlimazls. A shlemiehl is the person who always spills soup, and a shlimazl is the person he spills it on. I'm the shlemiehl and you're the shlimazl.
~Jewish Bernstein talking to archconservative Archie Bunker on the 1970's U.S. sitcom All in the Family


  1. Emily, all this time, I did not know you had a blog. It is wonderful. I love the pictures, and hearing your heart!!! I will bookmark you for sure!!!!

  2. hmmm, i thought I left a comment here this morning... I have this book and have made that soup. it turned out way better than the one from last night!!