Counting Our Blessings

Considering what we're thankful for in the local food scene

Soup's On

There is a reason things become a cliché: They are based in truth. And as clichéd as it seems, what I've been yearning for in the days since September 11 is soup. It's an impossibly reassuring dish that emanates comfort, security, and wholesomeness. Truth be told, soup is always a preferred dish at our house. In summer there are the seemingly endless parade of chilled soups. The first cold snap (or what passes for such in our parts) sends me to the stove to stir up a pot of lentil and brown rice soup. This fall, while unseasonably warm, has resulted in more than the usual amount of soup in our house. Served with some crusty bread and a sturdy salad, it's a meal that leaves me feeling that things may just work out after all.

So what am I thankful for this year? Yes, soup. Potato leek, chicken noodle, tortilla, black bean. I am grateful to my mother for giving me her well-used and ancient stock pot which allows me to assemble my concoctions in the same vessel which housed her legendary "Mommy Soup" of my childhood (a beef and vegetable creation I'm insisting she make soon). I am grateful for the prepped packages at Central Market that provide the basis for a wonderful pot of fragrant, delicious comfort. When even 30 minutes of sautéeing and an hour of simmering is more than I can spare, the packaged chowders (Manhattan and New England) and gumbo are the ticket. The soups at Texas French Bread (particularly the Minnesota Wild Rice, the roasted tomato, and their unique version of tortilla soup) have also rescued me from more than one forlorn afternoon. Soup has made me grateful often over the years but never more than in this one.

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