The Precious Gift of Soup

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.

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).

Matzoh Ball Soup

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.

Caldo Verde

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.

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Author: Twyla Campbell

World-wide wanderer, CBC Edmonton AM Restaurant Reviewer, Member of Edmonton’s Slow Food convivium, oenophile, epicurean explorer and a freelance writer whose works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including More, Above & Beyond, Avenue (Edmonton), Up Here, Northern Flyer, Opulence, City Palate, the Edible Prairie Journal, The Edmonton Journal, Slow Food Canada, Lifestyle Alberta, and on Slow Food Edmonton’s website. Grant MacEwan University (Professional Writing Program) Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree (in progress). I’m a Tweeter @wanderwoman10

2 thoughts on “The Precious Gift of Soup

  1. Lovely postings. The kale sausage Portuguese soup sounds delicious. Must get some kale. My favourite soups are chicken with homemade noodles and minestrone. We were hiking in the southern part of Switzerland years ago. We stopped at a very small resto and the only thing she had left (we were in the mountains mind) was her minestrone. Still can almost taste that soup today and have never been able to replicate it. Must be the experience of finding this “lost” little place (we had an amazing Swiss guide) that added the extra taste and goodness.

    1. You’re right: everything that surrounds that bowl of soup is what makes it special. Also, a dash of gratitude doesn’t hurt either…I’m sure knowing that was all she had left made that soup taste even better. Thanks for reading and for leaving your comment, Peggy 🙂

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