Around The Table: Super Soups
Soup fills my mug this morning. Not the usual herbal tea or even my husband’s coffee, but a soothing, creamy concoction of nourishing soup providing some vitamins and protein as it warms me from the inside out.
I wrap my hands around the hand-thrown vessel (collected at an art sale during my college days) and contemplate what seem to me, to be Mother Nature’s hot flashes. Here in the South, it is damp and chilly in the mornings, steamy and warm in the afternoons, and the migrating birds appear to be flying a zig-zag pattern between the warm and cold fronts.
Influenza and strep throat are making their rounds in the community, so I plan on making more homemade ginger-lemon tea to share with friends, family, and neighbors. Lemon, ginger, and turmeric (the health benefits of which, I’ve alluded to in previous articles) will be enhancing our upcoming meals as well.
Another inspiring sip of soup and I’m ready to face the day….
Soup seems to be an almost universal comfort food, as well as an economical entree in most cultures. A dear fried once gifted me with a cookbook of chicken soup recipes from around the world. It continues to inspire me to search out the soups and meals from diverse countries. With the following holidays approaching, we look forward to trying our hand at some of the following:
March 1 is Purim (Jewish festival – see the book of Esther in the Bible). Kreplach are small dumplings filled with meat or potatoes. I found a recipe online for mushroom-potato kreplach which my family chicken and dumplings loving family will probably enjoy served in chicken broth.
March 11 is Daylight Savings Time. If I needed another reason to enjoy my crockpot, this is it. As we “spring forward” an hour, I can rest easy knowing that lunch/supper was started the night before. I’ll make some extra pancakes on Saturday to have ready for Sunday and I won’t miss any sleep. With so many crockpot soup recipes available, the hardest part will be choosing which one we haven’t tried yet … maybe Beef Pho or Polish Cabbage and Sausage Soup. March 11 is also Johnny Appleseed Day, hmmm… Carrot/Apple/Ginger Soup ?
March 15 referred to as the Ides of March. Maybe we’ll wear our togas as we re-read Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar” and consume Roman Wedding Soup (a delightful version of chicken noodle which includes orzo, chicken, endive or kale, bread crumbs).
March 17 St. Patrick’s Day (Ireland) offers the opportunity to make Irish Stew or Potato Soup.
March 20 is the First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox) which brings to mind asparagus and other fresh vegetables. Maybe Asparagus or Broccoli and Bacon soup served alongside Cuban sandwiches (basically a glorified ham and cheese combo).
Many people will be sharing meatless meals on Fridays during the Lenten season. Soups are a lovely way to simplify the menu (and clean out the refrigerator) at the end of the week. Many of the Lenten soup recipes use beans in place of meat and there are a wide variety to select from.
Good Friday and Passover complete the Lenten season and the month of March. The traditional Good Friday soups I have found from Lebanon and other inland countries feature beans (lentils or cannellini beans). The Good Friday soups I have found from coastal countries like feature fish.
Easter is on April 1st this year (aka April Fools’ Day) so I’m already thinking of a colorful Carrot and Ginger soup as an appetizer for the celebratory meal that day.
While I may dream about a beautiful Victorian soup tureen or large soup mugs with whimsical images of the Campbell’s Kids embellished on them, most likely we’ll be ladling our soups, stews, and chilis out of a large skillet or the crockpot. Each meal will be served with a smile and some laughter. We’ll share an appreciation for all those around our table and the warm food that nourishes us. What will you be serving this month ?
Best of health to all of you!