– African proverb
By mid March even winter enthusiasts like me start to find their minds wandering into daydreams of greener, warmer, more vital times….. making it the perfect time for a bowl of comforting soup to celebrate the mutual joys of (still) cold outdoors and warm insides. While I was preparing soup and accompanying comments for an evening about Comfort Food at our town library recently, I came across chef and cookbook author Mollie Katzen‘s apt description:
"Whether it is served hot or cold, thin or thick, chunky or smooth, soup is the universal comfort food, the primordial vehicle of nourishment. Curative properties are ascribed to soup in every known culture, and I wouldn't be surprised if, in many cases, the cure is for emotional hunger as well as for physical need."
Comfort food is often associated with what your mother or grandmother cooked for you, either when you came home from school, or in from playing in the snow, or when you weren’t feeling well. A can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom was my first comfort food soup. I remember my mother buying them on sale: 10 cans for a dollar. How could a recent immigrant trying hard to slide into the American lifestyle go wrong?
Many years later, after she had become immersed in the Macrobiotic diet, a homemade pot of miso soup became a regular comfort soup in our home. We’d have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner – as a nourishing broth and digestive support, just as the Japanese did, we learned in Macrobiotic cooking classes.
Now with a bountiful garden, abundant local organic farms and a good soup pot, I make at least one large batch a week. It’s what I like to serve my family for dinner and lunch the following day, and with lots to go around, I fill quart-sized Ball jars and make it available on our local online farmers market YourFarmstand.com.
As the folktale “Stone Soup” illustrates, regardless of individual ingredients or particular seasonings, a pot of soup draws eaters, who pull up chairs, fill up bowls and find comfort in both the nourishment and the company.
If you share the love of soup, you’ll enjoy these internet resources:
- Seriously Soupy blog: every week a new soup recipe
- Dr. Susan Rubin website for articles and recipes for soup
- 101 Cookbooks blog soup recipes
- Cook, Eat, Share soup and stew recipes
- Vegetarian Times soup recipes
- Eatingwell soup recipes
And these tangible cookbooks:
- Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special: More Than 275 Recipes for Soups, Stews, Salads and Extras
- Recipes from the Root Cellar: 270 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Winter Vegetables
- and many other great-looking Soup Cookbooks.