Friday, December 13, 2013

Soup is kind of boring food



I like eating soup, but it has no romance for me and I’m going to try to get through Soups as fast as possible. I made a French potato and leek soup last night. As always, I started with the lowest hanging fruit, in this case a soup that goes like this: Boil 2 quarts of salted water, add 5 thinly sliced leeks and 4 thinly sliced, peeled potatoes, cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the stove and stir in 3 tablespoons of butter. Ladle into bowls.

It was surprisingly tasty for something so simple and you could make it even simpler by omitting the butter which amounted to roughly one irrelevant teaspoon per bowl. Everyone ate the soup with satisfaction. Make it and you will be pleased, if not collapsing with joy. I have nothing else to say about this estimable soup.

One soup recipe down, four to go.

On another subject, many thanks to the commenter who recommended Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson. I'm at the halfway mark and the book is a delight. Charming, fizzy, casually erudite, thought-provoking. . . Shall I just type a page-long list of gushy adjectives? I could. 

It’s a history of cooking equipment, but that makes it sound plodding and academic and this book is anything but. I don’t look at a wooden spoon the same way, or a pot, or a knife. I've learned why kids today need braces and 500 years ago they didn't and why the French frown on cutting salad leaves. I also now crave spit-roasted meat, which Wilson ate in the kitchen of food historian Ivan Day.

The library only had the audiobook version, not my first choice, but it's a top-notch production. This afternoon I have to ice a 15-layer cake for Isabel’s birthday party and I’m looking forward to the chore because I get to listen to Consider the Fork for 45 minutes. In the unlikely case you haven't figured this out, I highly recommend this book.

This has nothing to do with cooking, but I also highly recommend a movie called The Great Beauty. It's thrilling to watch -- beautiful people, flamingos, Rome -- but it's much more than that. I can’t get the movie out of my mind, but since I saw it alone have no one to discuss it with.  

15 comments:

  1. OK, I have put Consider the Fork on hold at the library. It sounds fascinating! I have also put The Great Beauty on my movie list. See, you are a woman of great influence. I have to disagree about soup. I love making soup, and I could live off it for a long time. It is one of my real comfort foods, which is strange since my mother never made soup when I was growing up. In fact, tonight we are having soup! So, I hope you find some recipe that inspires you to discover the wonderfulness that is soup.

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    1. I like soup, I just can't get excited about it. I sure hope you like the book and particularly the movie. I didn't really want to see it because the preview didn't appeal to me, but then I read all these glowing reviews and forced myself to see it and I'm so glad I did.

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  2. OK, you got me. Why do kids today need braces?

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    1. Because we stopped clamping meat in our teeth and tearing it. We started cutting it up and eating it daintily.

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    2. And that changes the bite.

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    3. Thanks for asking, I wanted to know too.

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  3. I love making and eating soup, but I don't feel like it is really dinner. Broccoli cheddar soup I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I'm easy to please, and have a sluggish metabolism. I feel like I should make a roast meat or a huge bowl of pasta or maybe a dozen pizzas to really feel like I've covered dinner for the family. Soup is dinner for empty -nesters, is what I'm thinking (which appeals to me very much.) Probably my husband would disagree. He has never loved soup. Or at least he thinks of it as bachelor food. I have Consider the Fork on my Amazon wish list (Kindle edition, because I'm about to get my first Kindle!) and assume I will love it. Ooh, and P.S., Soups in the olden days of high cuisine were crazy highfalutin'. In culinary school we were taught that a good veal stock should be clear enough to read the words on a dime at the bottom of the pot. Consomme was an art!

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    1. Congratulations on the Kindle!
      How does one make such a clear veal stock? And what is the soup that you clear of impurities with an egg white? Or is it an egg shell? I have to look that up. The only consomme I've ever seen was in a can.

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    2. Consomme is just stock or broth that has been clarified with egg whites. The particles of whatnot in the stock cling to the whites, which float to the top of the pot and form the "raft", which is lifted off. I've never done this.

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  4. I love soup and look forward to the recipes you'll be trying. I could eat soup at every meal, along with bread or biscuits, followed by a lot of some rich and filling dessert.

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    1. The bread is critical. My kids view soup as nothing more than an accompaniment to bread.

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  5. Someone remarked previously that your blog has the best comments, and it does. I agree with Carolyn about soup and a rich dessert, but I love soup so much, I can easily eat it without bread. If I eat the bread, I can't eat the dessert!

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  6. the great thing about soup is that is so easy to make and so satisfying to eat........

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  7. Putting all qualms aside and hoping you don't think its strange...I dreamt that I met you last night. And I helped you unhook the trailer with all your worldly belongings in it and met two dogs you had just adopted from a shelter. Then when I went to hug and kiss you goodbye, you turned about a million years old and *your* false teeth seized up on my cheek, completely locked down. Very painful...probably more than my dream realized.
    Maybe I will meet you some day. But I hope it's under happier circumstances then being stuck together at the face.
    Love your blog!

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    1. Seriously? Oh, I'm so sorry. That was very rude of me.

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