“S” for Soup

Tomato soup
Originally uploaded by PaulaVB

The simple task of spelling a word and associate the letters to other words so the person who is listening can understand them, despite their sound similarities, is hard for me to do. I know there are certain codes and common sense uses, but I keep living in my own world and saying the first thing that comes to my mind. Often this thing is related to food. So I go on in life saying things like “b for broccolis and c for chicken”. I can feel the awkwardness from the other side, so I try to explain myself saying “oh, you know, I’m a chef” or “it’s almost lunch time and I’m getting really hungry”. Last time when I said “s for soup” I justified myself saying "Jewish Passover is coming and I’m already thinking about the matzo ball soup" (What?)! It’s embarrassing… I know… and the other person has nothing to do with it, but my justifications are true; in this case I was really thinking about soup and that’s why I also decided to write about it…
Did you know that the first Parisians restaurants didn’t serve food, only soup? It was believed that soup could raise the spirits and bring relief to respiratory indisposition. So going to restaurants was considered a restoring act; therefore its name.
Carême, who grew up at a time where the soup was the healthful food in vogue, affirmed that all meals would have to start obligatorily with it. For him, this was an issue of philosophy and medicine as well as it was of gastronomy. In his opinion soup was meant to renew the palate and to prepare the spirits of the dinners for the rest of the meal. Nowadays soups are not as important as they were. Sometimes they are even diminished and associated with illness and diet. Nonsense, when well done a soup can be delightful! Basically, they can be classified in two groups: clear (as consommé) and thick, that are subdivided according to the type of thickening used:
Puree soups: vegetables soups thickened with the starch contained in the pureed vegetables.
Bisques: made with shellfish and usually enriched with cream.
Cream soups: thickened with béchamel sauce or roux, enriched with cream and/or milk.
Velouté soups: thickened with egg yolks, butter and cream.
In addition to these, there are soups thickened with arrowroot, rice and tapioca. And I’ll continue to write about soup… So maybe I can take it out of my system and say something like “s for sierra” next time I have to spell a word!

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