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Soup’s On!

March 20th, 2010

When I was a little kid, a blustery day meant bundling up, and a lunch made up of Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup and a sandwich.

It was the simplest thing, but in those perfect moments all was right in the world.

As I got older, the soup choices evolved. From Cream of Tomato to Cream of Chicken. Chicken Noodle was the obvious choice when I was under the weather. Then Italian Wedding, French Onion, and Baked Potato. And how could I ever have guessed that I’d come to love lentil soup and butternut squash?

To this day, soup is an effective way to put myself into a happy state of mind.

Maybe it’s the nostalgia of it all. Remembering the warmth spreading across my chest, while I was still bundled up like an Eskimo. My mom’s smile as she ladled the soup into my bowl and cut my sandwich in half.

In high school and college I was introduced to the classic Cup Noodles and Maruchan instant noodles. They had the benefit of being really cheap, quick to prepare, and pretty filling. We used to buy this stuff by the case!

Years later when I moved to the Bay Area, I learned that ramen wasn’t solely in the realm of starving student food. My friends Edwin and Steve introduced me to a Japanese noodle house called “The Ramen Club“, and the ramen was incredible!

Ramen Club led to Santa Ramen, then Himawari. Japanese ramen has very little in common with its Styrofoam encased cousin.

For those of you who haven’t had ramen the way God intended, they start with a big bowl of rich, pork broth, seasoned with salt, soy or miso. Then you add a pile of noodles, and a choice of a variety of other mouth-watering options like corn, egg, roasted pork slices, scallions and butter. Lots and lots of butter!

Speaking of contributions that Asia has made to the art of soup, my friend Matt Weeks introduced me to one of the best soups, ever! It’s called Wor Won Ton, and you can get it in most Chinese restaurants, regardless of whether its on the menu.

Wor Won Ton is when they take everything left in the kitchen and turn it into a soup. It has won tons, ham, chicken, shrimp, pork, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and broccoli, depending on what ingredients are in the kitchen. Of the many positive things I’ve gotten from my friendship with Matt, Wor Won Ton soup is one of my favorites !

As winter turns to spring, there will be a lot less soup. Sadly, most people think soup is only appropriate when the leaves start to fall and on blustery days. (How come there aren’t any mentions of soup in Winnie the Pooh?)

I don’t need a blustery day for my thoughts to turn to a bowl of savory yumminess. Although a bowl of chicken noodle is the cure to most ailments, it’s just as wonderful when I’m feeling perfectly fine.

It’s even worth a drive to Solvang, CA, to Pea Soup Andersen’s, just to taste their take on the classic. (And drive my MINI!)

Soup is happiness in a bowl.

2 Responses to “Soup’s On!”

  1. foodieMatty Says:

    Yes, soup is always a fun way to make any day (cold or warm) that much better with good friendship and good food.
    🙂
    Matt Weeks

  2. BC Says:

    One of the cool things about soup is that it is (borrowing a phrase from Tim Jones) one the biggest “nostalgia foods” out there. It seems like everyone has that one special soup from their childhood that gives them a warm, fuzzy feeling. When it’s rainy and cold outside, there’s nothing quite like breaking out a bowl of said soup.

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