I Just Really Like Soup
This week, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite things in the world: soup. To me, soup isn’t just something to enjoy during the colder fall and winter months. It’s something to be enjoyed and celebrated all year round. In all (or at least most) of its forms, soup is an incredible gift to us. There are so many possibilities out there just by using a simple array of vegetables, meats, grains, and broths.
I’ve been eating soup regularly since childhood, where my mother would make soup a lot. She would always make soup from scratch—canned soup is not really included in my love of soup, but can still be useful for casseroles, etc.—the way that her mom did. My mom is from Poland and soup is a pretty big deal there. When I was in Poland, we’d always have a small cup of soup before eating our main dish for the day. When I was at home most of the time, I’d eat soup during many different occasions. Even though I’m older now, my mom will still make soup while thinking of me (and my brother, I guess) and store them in old pasta sauce jars, freeze them, and give them to me to reheat when I come home to visit. Not only is this very thoughtful, but also helpful in that I have a few less days to meal prep that week. Soup really does feel like home.
While they are all called soup, each kind of soup brings something different to the table. All soups are good—except gazpacho, that’s a weird one I don’t know how to feel about.
Chicken noodle is probably the most classic of all classic soups. My mom makes the best chicken noodle I’ve ever had. I know that it’s the charred onion she puts in there that makes it so flavorful, but I haven’t been able to successfully achieve this technique. My chicken noodle soup is pretty good, but it’s nowhere near as amazing as my mom’s. This is peak comfort food.
I know most American tomato soup fans are talking about a tomato bisque, a soup that is equally consistent throughout, a perfect pairing with a grilled cheese sandwich and/or some croutons. This is a fine soup, but I prefer a different kind of tomato soup. Growing up we had one that’s more in consistency with a brothier soup. We (my mom) would cook tomatoes down to its essence, mix it with broth and a little bit of sour cream. There was sometimes chicken in there, and some carrots to absorb the acid. Then we’d put noodles, rice, or barley in it. This is my preferred way to eat tomato soup.
What better way of repurposing holiday ham leftovers than by making a baked potato soup? I mean, you can make baked potato soup whenever you want but who has a bunch of good, thick cuts of ham lying around on a normal day? Anyways, this is a very hearty, comforting soup. It’s better than a real baked potato because regular baked potatoes are kinda not that great.
I love a soup that always comes in the most gigantic bowl to exist, and that’s what pho is. The broth, meat, and noodle combination for this soup is fantastic. I will never try to make this soup myself because the experts already do it so well.
This is cucumber soup, but not the cold cucumber soup you might be thinking of. It’s made with cucumbers in brine, which my family lazily calls “pickles” even though pickles are pickled in vinegar, not brine. That being said, my family calls this “pickle soup” which objectively sounds disgusting. This is a sour soup, which also may sound bad. It is not. I love this soup.
One of my biggest accomplishments as an adult is being able to make a really good chicken tortilla soup in a crock pot. Did I get into chicken tortilla soup because it’s a great vehicle for cheese and tortilla chips? Maybe. It’s my go-to soup for making a ridiculous amount of soup all at once. My mom’s coworker’s loved it, my roommate said it’s very good, and even my very picky coworker said it was nice. If I had to survive on one recipe my whole life, it would be this soup.
Beet soup sounds bad but it’s actually good! Russians eat it kinda creamy I think. I’ve never had it that way. We usually put little mushroom dumplings in it and it’s really good. This is typically a special soup just for Christmas. Something about the blood of Christ (that’s a lie, but it definitely looks like blood and stains way worse).
Mushrooms are so good, and they’re even better in a soup.
This is the ultimate soupy vehicle for bread and cheese. In fact, bread and cheese are necessary for French onion soup to exist—otherwise it would just be called onions in broth soup and that’s not very exciting or good. The traditional way of being baked in an oven for a little bit before serving is good, but we all know that it’s best when served in a bread bowl.
Either instant or from an actual restaurant, ramen is a perfect comfort food. The toppings really make the dish, though. I love a good marinated soft-boiled egg. I could eat one every day. I shouldn’t eat them every day, but I definitely could. Ramen also traditionally comes in an absolutely gigantic bowl, which makes it a perfect soup.
Is chili a soup, or is it a stew? Is a stew also a soup? I’d like to think so. They’re all still quite liquid-y. On a cold day, I love working on a good crock pot chili. Mostly because I want to eat a lot of melted sharp cheddar cheese, and chili is a tasty and acceptable way to do that.
All Other Soups (except gazpacho)
To all the other soups that I forgot to mention, it’s not because I don’t love them too, but it’s because there are simply too many soups to list in a single hastily-written newsletter piece. Every soup has a place on this earth—even weird cold ones that don’t taste very good. I hope that reading this inspires you to eat some soup soon. I know it’s still kind of hot out outside (at least in the Midwest) but that’s no excuse for you to not eat some soup.