Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By February's End, Soup Isn't So Super

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

By February's End, Soup Isn't So Super

Article excerpt

AFTER the recent siege of snow, ice, more snow, and a week of subarctic temperatures, my family is souped out.

We've had bean soup of diverse ethnic origins - Cuban black, Tuscan white and Cajun red. In the chicken category we've had chicken noodle, chicken rice and even chickenless chicken soup.

There are sub-groupings of vegetable and beef soups, too numerous to catalog. Every winter it happens. The primal urge to make soup comes over me like a fever. It starts innocently enough with a pot of chili on a cold day. I am never happier than when I cook chili - chopping, sniffing, tasting - to musical accompaniment, ZZ Topp or Fats Waller being my current favorite chili enhancers. If I have the ingredients on hand when the mood hits, so much the better. A trip to the grocery throws off the serendipitous aspect that is crucial to a good pot of chili. Chili is generally well received by my family, providing I don't improvise too much with unorthodox additions of red wine, bitter chocolate or other exotica. From chili, it's a logical progression to stew - a perfectly valid stick-to-your-ribs cold weather standby. After stew, I begin to haul out cookbooks, turning down the corners of pages with soup recipes, making major forays to produce and herb sources, preparing huge vats of stock. My mind is awash in soup of every stripe. At night I dream of bisque and chowder and gumbo. By the first snowfall, I am in a frenzy of soupmaking. The kitchen is a sea of soup - pots galore and all four burners working overtime. The snow accumulation outside rarely keeps pace with the escalating soup levels inside. By now, my husband is begging for something (anything) else to eat. My son speaks wistfully of hamburgers, and asks if he can go next door for dinner. I begin exporting quarts of soup to neighbors. When school is canceled on a snowy day, I plan a warming lunch of avgolemono (a Greek chicken soup with lemon), savoring the rich aroma and velvet texture. …

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