What fragrance sends you back to childhood?
The scent of bubbling soup time-travels me to my mother’s kitchen. Cold and wet after slogging home from school, I filled nose and soul with her soup’s warm promise that I’d soon fill my empty stomach.
Mom would’ve agreed with Molière, a seventeenth-century French playwright: “I live on good soup, not on fine words.”
Whether Molière wrote about soup, creative minds from centuries past have told many versions of a European folktale, “Stone Soup.” What modern child hasn’t heard how a hungry traveler(s), using empty kettle and stone, persuaded stingy villagers to share? Books, magazines, movies, songs and even software have borrowed the concept (though personally, I’d rather eat the soup.)
Another classic, Alice in Wonderland, features a soup song that’s puzzled me since childhood. Why would the Mock Turtle — obviously a turtle himself — laud turtle soup as “beau—yootiful soup”? If cannibals were boiling me in a pot, I would not sing.
Enough literary commentary.
How do you like your soup temperature-wise? Like model Chrissy Teigen, I “need my soup to be crazy hot.”
My husband has ducked under many a restaurant table when I’ve sent lukewarm soup back to the kitchen. He says nothing, but I read his mind: If I had to marry a hot-soup fanatic, why not Chrissy, instead?
Too late for you, bud.
Enough marriage commentary.
Back to soup temperature. Enthusiasts refer to cold concoctions as gazpacho, vichyssoise or Polish chlodnik, made with beets and yogurt. Fine. Just do not call them soup. When thermometers reach 90 degrees, hand me a Popsicle® instead.
Not that I diss foreign soups. For centuries, Thai curry, Portuguese caldo verde (potatoes, kale and sausage) and North African squash soup have nourished thousands. Most of the world, though, might question a remote Japanese tribe’s recipe that includes bananas, coffee and dirt.
Still, soup brings humans together. Mom understood this as she added more potatoes or broth to feed our ravenous family, lonely parishioners, and the occasional, hungry stranger.
Author Kate DiCamillo said, “There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it, another heart to be warmed by it.”
Mom, Kate isn’t the only one who got it right.
You cooked hundreds of kettles of beau—yootiful, beau—yootiful soup.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite soup?