Anyone who tells a lie has not pure heart, and cannot make good soup.
~ Ludwig van Beethoven
I am not sure I am pure of heart, but I did make a good soup today. In an effort to liven up our diet, I have challenged myself to make soup every Sunday. I love soup, but don’t make it very often anymore. I have loads of soup recipes, including two cookbooks devoted entirely to soup. Both M and I save soup recipes from the newspaper or magazines if they sound good. The saved recipes pile up in a folder, ignored. It’s time to find out if they’re worth making and keeping.
Today I started with a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Have you ever read Cook’s Illustrated? It’s one of M’s favorite magazines because they not only give you a recipe, but explain, sometimes in scientific terms, why the recipe works. One of the recipes we saved recently is for Red Lentil Soup with North African Spices. (I did not link to the Cook’s illustrated website because you have to join in order to see the recipe. I found the same recipe at another site, KCET, a Los Angeles television station.) I made it for lunch today and it was wonderful. It is a rather simple soup to make, not too labor intensive. I left out the mint because M doesn’t care much for mint in his savory food. I imagine it would have changed the flavor considerably. I’d love to try this with harissa. Now that I think about it, I have a big bag of dried chiles in the pantry. I think I’ll make some.
I will be keeping my Souper Sunday posts short. Just a photo or two, a description or review and, if available, a link to the recipe. If I can’t find a link and you’re interested in the recipe, let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to email it to you. Feel free to join me, if you like. Let’s see how many soups we can make.
The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage.
Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird?
And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted?
The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together.
Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.
~ David Tanis, Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys
Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run.