Polar Vortex, Deep Freeze, #Carribbeanbound – whatever you call it, winter is here and wearing us out!
There’s no better way to take the chill off your bones than a hearty, hot soup.
Restaurant dining has trained us to think of soup as a side or a “starter” dish, but soup can be a filling meal in itself. It’s just what you want to find in the fridge when you come home late and too tired to “cook.” I often eat it as a main course, with a salad or fruit or crackers on the side.
And soup has the power to heal – did you know it’s used to help with everything from seasonal colds to managing weight? In every culture, you can find soups to help with common ailments.
Whether it’s thin and broth-y, pureed and chunky, meaty and spicy, African, Asian or Creole influenced, you can never get bored with soup.
Many soups cook in just one pot – throw in some fresh chopped veggies, water, broth or stock, herbs and spices, protein, and sauté and stir. Most soups are easily portable in a thermos and freeze well.
You could actually dine well on nothing but soup. If you had time to cook only one pot for the week (30 minutes to an hour), you would be eating quite healthfully, provided you use clean and whole ingredients. Try making one pot over the weekend – when you may have a bit more time to yourself – and see how long that lasts you.
Three reasons I love soups so much: they’re easy to make, they’re good for you, and they remind me of home – though not quite in the way you might think.
I grew up eating canned soups, and when we would visit my great aunt and great grandmother, there was always a soup simmering. Often it was simple and fresh, like okra, lima beans and corn, or yesterday’s chicken with carrots, celery and homemade dumplings. I would scrunch up my nose, finding the unfamiliar scent, the misshapen veggies and the scarred old pots foreign compared with the uniform noodles and squares of mushy carrots and mystery meat in shiny cans that I was used to. I’m embarrassed about how I’d tell Biggie and Auntie that I was already full and pass up their dishes.
I miss those days and the matrons of the kitchen, who are now long gone. But now when I stir up a pot of my own, I imagine my great-grandmother Zillar, who we called Biggie, handing me her just-emptied bowl, peering over her rims and saying “Child, pass me another spoon of that soup.” And that warms me right up.