Recently, my friend, Loretta, put up a post on Facebook asking people what their favourite soup is to eat when they’re sick. Loretta is the author of Your Canadian Food Story, a book that contains recipes and over 110 stories from Canadians about their food memories. It’s a great read because it makes a person realize how connected we all are by food. I’d read a story from some person in another part of the country talking about a favourite dish of theirs and I’d think hey, my aunt made something like that!
My favourite food to eat—from any culture, for any reason, and at any time of day or season—is soup.
Soup is love in a bowl. Just think of the effort that goes into making (homemade) soup: sourcing the ingredients (or growing them!); washing, chopping, stirring, simmering. Whoever makes you soup cares for you an awful lot.
My favourite soup memory is of a Volga German soup my mom used to make called Butterball Soup. It’s similar to matzoh ball soup but instead of using matzoh meal, the dumplings are made of leftover stale bread. Thinking of Butterball Soup takes me back to the farm, to the big round table in an old kitchen warm with sunshine and the smells of things baking in the oven and burbling on top of the stove.
When I was undergoing chemo, soup was about the only food that appealed to me at times. I was extremely fortunate that friends stopped by with gifts of soup to get me through those days. I’m not sure they’ll ever know how much I appreciated that. I did have my own supply of chicken bone broth (a recipe I riffed on from Natasha’s Kitchen) but it sure was nice to have some variety to switch things up.
My friend, Cynthia, made 14 litres of gorgeous beef bone broth (I blogged about it here). Amazing.
Liane Faulder brought a homemade, hearty sausage and lentil soup.
My pal, Chef Charlie Rothman, the good Jewish angelboy that he is, showed up with a vat of his matzoh ball soup (easily as good or better than what I had at Katz’s and Carnegie, I kid you not).
Joshna Maharaj, chef, food advocate, and author of the soon-to-be-published book Take Back the Tray, sent me her favourite caldo verde recipe from Serious Eats and it was so delicious that I wanted to pass it along to you. It now has a solid placing in my top 10 all-time favourite soup recipes.
Know this: when someone brings you the gift of soup, you are getting something very special. All the Hallmark cards in the world can’t come close to saying what is said by the gifting of soup.
I’m excited for fall because that means soups and stews are going to be burbling on my stovetop non-stop.
Do you have a favourite soup? I’d love to hear what it is and why it means so much to you.