No Soup For You

What is your favorite food? Mine is cheese. Cheese is versatile and varied. It can be anything from appetizer to dessert. And there are enough different kinds of cheese that you can find one to match any mood you are in. That is not the point here. The Better question would be what is your favorite dish category? Mine fits all the same criteria as my cheese addiction. It can be hot or cold, salty or sweeter, it can fit any mood since under its umbrella are everything from creamy bisques and chowders to crystal clear consomme. That’s right soup. The problem with soup is even though it can be cold (gazpacho anyone?) it still must be boiled, simmered, or stewed……a hot cooking method.


When I attended Jonson and Wales for Culinary Arts, my first class was also my favorite of the them all. Stocks, Sauces, and Soups, taught by an old French chef named Jean-Michel Vienne . It introduced us all to proper knife technique and taught the most important concept (in my opinion) in cooking: balance of flavor. On a plate you can get away with some flavors that don’t exactly mesh, but in a bowl of soup if something is out of place it can’t hide as a side dish. I love making soup, and eating it too. I am missing it. Every time I think “Hey I think I’ll make soup today”, I then walk Emmet to school and realize at eight in the morning it is already approaching ninety degrees.


My taste buds yearn for a thin acidic French Onion, or a thick creamy Clam Chowder, or even a visually busy Minestrone. But alas my internal water content says I cannot have the stove going all day and consume enough water to stay conscious at the same time. The other issue I’m running into is finding proper ingredients for soups I wish to make. Soup is an important part of Asian ( especially traditional Chinese) cooking as it is served with most every meal. All I can say is acclimation to a climate since birth must work wonders. But it is not the same soups I am used to. Bitter Gourd, or Old Cucumber soup or not the same as Italian Wedding soup or Pumpkin Bisque.


So therefore I must branch out and every now and then bite the financial bullet. Today my craving has overtaken me. The air conditioning is on, there is soup on the stove. A base of vegetable stock, carrots, and onions. Cubed pork shoulder, pan de-glazed with lime juice and simmered with the addition of lemongrass, coriander, and ginger. All flavors that should in theory go together. If it doesn’t the rice cooker is going as well so at least there will be that!


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