Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kennedy v. Bayless: Solid Gold soup


Here's a straight up-and-down comparison in which I prefer Diana Kennedy. 

I made Rick Bayless's tortilla soup on Friday night (Book: Mexico, One Plate at a Time.) The recipe and florid preamble stretched to four pages and included this: "My favorite tortilla soup dances salsa in the bowl. While swaying with deep, sweet tones, it surprises with colorful flourishes. It gently slides its hand around your waist, then does an unexpected turn with the muscle of herby epazote. It tickles you with the tangy fresh lime, then nudges you gently with fresh cheese and creamy avocado. And then comes the whirlwind of turns. .  ."

Et cetera. He goes on, but it seems kinder to look away. 

Diana Kennedy's recipe for sopa Tarasca barely fills a page (Book: Art of Mexican Cooking) and I made it last night. It tastes just like Bayless's (spicy, delishcious) and contains almost precisely the same ingredients. But fewer trees had to die.

This round goes to Mrs. Kennedy.

8 comments:

  1. Caught me by surprise- I thought you were leaning bayless! but i see now this is just one round, so i may still be right.

    And delish? i'm surprised to hear you use a word like that. seems in the same category as sammy or sando for sandwich, and like something you would frown upon. Not saying it's a bad word to use, just wouldn't have expected it from you.

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  2. You are so astute, anonymous!! I really cringed to type "delish" but decided to go out on a limb since I have run short of synonyms for delicious. I may go back and change it. I will never, ever use "sammy."

    I am leaning Bayless. I see almost no way he won't win, but I haven't delved deep enough to say that with complete certainty.

    Sammy. Hmph.

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  3. SAMMY! ARRGH! People who say sammy type in Comic Sans.

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  4. Melvil Dewey9/16/09, 2:07 PM

    But is either of these soups as delish as, or as fun to make as, Kenny Shopsin's Chicken Tortilla Avocado Soup? That's the question.

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  5. Melvil,
    I don't have a taste memory of the Shopsin soup, but my notes suggest it was better than either. Maybe HE is the real Mexican cooking guru.

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  6. hey, speaking for myself, i'm just happy to see melvil back. i've missed him.

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  7. Ah, that would be Melvil is back...at work. Time to blog has returned.
    I made a very fine tortilla soup yesterday by mixing a lovely red powder from a plastic bag with 4 cups of water, bringing to a boil, and then serving with avacado, lime and tortilla strips. Oh, and I threw in leftover chicken tomatoe stuff. Delish, indeed. And can be added to my very important list of dinners that can be made in 10 minutes.
    For dinners in 10 hours, my son and I made tamales from Bayless on the weekend. Almost ruined a lovely pot as we learned steam coming from the pot does not necessarily mean water is still below the steamer basket...but very successful nonetheless

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  8. Layne - you made me laugh out loud (yes, the old fashioned way). My daughter has a visceral hatred for comic sans - as do I for RR, her horrendous quips and what she calls "cooking".

    Tipsy - spending my Saturday morning catching up with you - don't know why I've stayed away so long!

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