Stew on this
With fall quickly arriving, I'm
suddenly in the soup once more.
Some may recall that I love to
make, serve, and sip soup. For
me it's the ultimate comfort food.
I can't explain why but just being
around the steaming stuff makes
me feel better. Plus what's quite
as elegant as a two handled soup
bowl ready and waiting? The only
reason that I may be a bit hesitant
in pulling out my stock pot is that
Indian Summer has yet to arrive!
Somehow soup conjures up many
childhood memories. How often
did Mom dish up some Campbell's
Chicken Noodle whenever you
were under the weather? While
I can't abide said goop, Frank still
occasionally pulls out a can. My
children always loved Ethel's Beef
Vegetable soup. While her recipe is
long gone, knowing my Mother, it
was easy at make! Yet the tradition
of sipping a steaming bowl was the
highlight of every visit back home.
While attending Art School, money
was tight. My bestie "T" and I would
SHARE a cup of Cream of Celery at
the corner coffee shop for lunch. It
may have resembled wallpaper paste
more than vichyssoise but it was all
we could afford. Plus... if you stuck
a spoon in the middle of the cup it
would stand erect for minutes! One
school chum hosted soup parties.
Everyone brought a can and dumped
them into a pot. Soon we had "soup."
Fortunately all I recall is the wine!
In my younger and more vulnerable
years (sorry F. Scott), I made my
own stock. Post studying the art of
french frugality, I saved each bone,
trimming, and vegetable peel in a
big bag in the freezer. Once full I'd
plop the conglomerate into a large
stock pot then cover with water and
wine. Hours later, a deep rich stock
was simmering ready to become a
perfect base for my cream soups.
Post "retirement" I've reinstated the
tradition and the bag is about full...
Flash from dash
While soup can be quite elegant,
it's actually thrifty. Once one has
learned to prepare proper potage,
one can transform anything into
something delightful. All that is
required is patience as nothing
good results from immediacy.
Given almost every kitchen is
equipped with a blending stick,
what's easier than throwing bits
and pieces into a pot with some
stock only to easily transform it
into a viable veloute? VOILA!
The big cheese
Why do many restaurants open a
can rather than stir the pot when
it comes to soup. Frankly the very
idea of some thick and "cheesy"
canned concoction repulses me.
That could be due to a childhood
fear of Welsh Rarebit. For some
reason my Father liked the stuff.
So every few Saturdays it was
served for lunch. The gooey glop
was poured over a slice of toast
which never satisfied this boy,
Howard bore a cheesy smile!
Cream in my genes
Could anything be more personal
than soup? Some like to add milk
to their Tomato whereas others opt
for a dash of dried basil. Others
think little is as good as a bowl of
Hungry Man Chili. Fortunately a
few of us actually enjoy a petite
dejeuner of homemade Cream of
Mushroom rather than adding the
condensed version to a mass of
frozen "french cut" green beens.
Whatever your poison... nothing
warms the heart better. Soups on!