The Soup Is On (ms)

I love soup and so I will eat just about any kind made in virtually any diner or kitchen. I don’t have much ability when it comes to making soup and that is surprising, especially to me.

My folks made soup and a lot of it. If it grew, mooed, cackled or oinked it was safe to say some portion of it would eventually make its way into the soup pot at the house. Though I imagine they knew or at least guessed the benefits of a bowl of soup the overriding factor was money! We didn’t have a whole lot of it and soup was cheap to make.

You could get a good soup bone at the local butcher for a couple pennies; throw it into a pot of water along with some vegetables and a few spices, boil it all for a while and, there you go, dinner is served. Heck, today it would be considered a gourmet meal.

I regret not learning more about the fine art of soup making when I had the chance. My contribution was generally in the slicing of the carrots and potatoes but, really, when you’ve sliced one carrot you’ve sliced them all. Had I been smarter, a condition I never really outgrew to this day, I would have hung out in the kitchen and learned the secret of making a good pot of soup. My mother, all the ladies in the neighborhood, all cooked by eye: a handful of this, a pinch of that, boil it for as long as it takes to go have a chat with a neighbor; nothing was ever written down by them so recipes do not exist. It’s a pity I didn’t pay closer attention; more evidence, I suppose, that youth is wasted on the young.

I can still remember the smell of it though. Chicken soup was my favorite and my uncle on some Saturday afternoons would bring down a plump one freshly dispatched from the flock in his backyard. He would accept no money, his payment came in soup.

On Sunday, late in the morning, the work to make the soup began and little by little the ingredients were added to the big pot of water on the stove. My carefully chopped carrots and potatoes, onions, garlic some parsley, pepper and salt were all put in then it would simmer for a time undetermined by someone as lowly as me. It was magic how they knew when it was finished, the stars told them or maybe it was a secret formula handed down over the years, who knows? At any rate, about the time the steam from the pot had thrown enough moisture into the air to fog the windows in winter, word was put out that the soup was finished.

Some noodles in a bowl, soup and vegetables and chicken ladled in and you were good to go. Truthfully, it was hard to wait seven days to do it all again for there were no leftovers to carry into Monday, for supper when I think about it.

Perhaps its time to practice the craft of soup making and maybe learn the right way to do it. It would surely ease winter a bit in more ways than one.

–Mike Stevens

~ by admin on January 10, 2012.

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