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Danko Jones


Soup Will Never Be An Entree -- Period

Posted: 12/02/2013 12:35 pm

First, I must state that I like soup, OK? It can be a delicious side dish or appetizer when accompanying a hearty meal. However, it's when soup graduates to entree that it becomes total bullshit.

I've never been a humongous soup fan. Not once did I ever come home from school salivating waiting for my mom to serve up some lip-smacking soup. I never let out a disappointed groan when she'd throw together a ham and cheese sandwich instead. Never once did the word "sorry" precede the sentence "we're having roast beef instead of soup tonight" in the house where I grew up.

And I don't place the responsibility on my parents' shoulders either. My father enjoyed pea soup and received many a compliment when he would cook it. However, due to my picky palette and weak stomach he eventually gave up trying to feed it to me when I would become visibly nauseous and almost vomit while it stewed on the stove. Even to this day, I can't stand the smell of pea soup and must do an immediate about-face for fear of acid reflux. Not to throw my Dad completely under the bus, I did eventually come around to enjoying his superb Dal Makhani but still, only as an appetizer and in small doses.

I understand the importance of soup through history. I understand its easy preparation and inexpensive nourishment for masses have earned its respected status on menus all over the world. For many, soup is a staple sustenance synonymous with bread and water. Trust me, I know all this but it doesn't mean I have to love it like one does a birthday cake.

Over time, I have had to sit and listen to people wax lyrical about their favourite soups, describing their love for it like one does a favourite household pet. God forbid I'm near one of them when they're actually eating it. To anyone else it might be potato leek soup but watching them pause between sips with eyes closed you'd think they were sipping the Amrit of Indra. All this public display of love-for-soup might be just overcompensating to hide their true disappointment at having to eat soup rather than some meaty brisket concoction.

The idea that soup can still get away with being served as an entree baffles me. Some restaurants give you the option to order soup in a small bowl as appetizer or a large bowl as main course. Shouldn't the upgrade of an appetizer, like soup, to entree status apply to other items on the menu? Why not take the veggie tray with accompanying cheese dip and call that your entree? Sound like I'm taking it too far? I'm just going by the path that soups have laid out.

Another dilemma that is never taken into account is whether or not to even bother with a beverage during a meal made of soup since you're basically eating liquid already. It's like serving pasta salad when you're about to have spaghetti and meatballs.

Arguments can be weakly made that hearty soups like Pho, Minestrone and Beef Noodle warrant their place as entrees. I call bullshit. Most of these so-called soups are really just distinguished stews or meals that should've been served on a plate but were dumped in a bowl and submerged in liquid.

Your plate of beef noodle wasn't good enough? Needed to drown it in some sort of spiced liquid? Why then doesn't someone extend that logic to beloved foods such as pizza, hamburgers or chocolate cake? Wouldn't you love to sip every savoury bit of your chocolate cake immersed in a bouillon of sprinkles, icing and fudge? How about delicious pizza soup made up of pepperoni purée and a mouthwatering wet blanket of crust?

Sickness has been the singular occasion when, with open arms, I have gladly upgraded soup to an entree, savouring each sip as it trickles down my swollen throat to soothe a fever, cough or satiate a flu-ridden stomach. Chicken soup, Hot & Sour soup and Rose Hip Soup (more popularly known as Nypon Soppa), have all come to my aid when I was feeling under the weather so I can't hate on them too much.

Funnily enough, I do enjoy consuming breakfast cereals as the main course of a breakfast meal. Though not technically classified as soup, cereals are eaten in the exact same manner, much like how ostrich have feathers but can't fly.

You see, I'm the type of person who will, without fail, find something to complain about, whether it's the day after I win the lottery or the night I finally spend with Kylie Minogue. The 10-million dollar cheque might have a crease at the bottom or the lampshade in Kylie's bedroom might be crooked. Don't misunderstand, I am grateful for the soup. But let's call a spade a spade and put the damn thing in a glass already, preferably with a straw.


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  • Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parsley or Basil Pesto

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/4661-smoky-minestrone-with-tortellini-and-parsley-or-basil-pesto" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>The smokiness of the bacon permeates the minestrone, imbuing the tomatoey broth with a depth of flavor it wouldn't have otherwise. The bright, rustic pesto (we used parsley, but basil would be great too) is a superb final addition, adding a garlicky, herbal kick. - Amanda and Merrill<br><em>Photo: James Ransom</em>

  • Green Chile, Chicken, Posole Soup

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/13566-green-chile-chicken-posole-soup" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br> Dymnyno stays focused here, and each ingredient shines. Chewy hominy and crunchy cabbage shore up the spicy broth while lime and oregano do a tango. <br><em>Photo: James Ransom</em>

  • Mushroom Barley Soup

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/893-mushroom-barley-soup" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>You begin this soup by browning pancetta and over the course of about 20 minutes, and then you add aromatic vegetables, tomato paste, both fresh mushrooms and rehydrated porcinis, soy sauce and sherry. The soup simmers for an hour to cook the barley and blend the flavors, and by the time you're done you have a soup whose brothiness belies an intense grid of flavors. - Amanda and Merrill<br><em>Photo: Sarah Shatz</em>

  • Chicken Soupy Stew

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/119-chicken-soupy-stew" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>Tasting this chowder, we were reminded how combining lemon and cream somehow makes the cream seem creamier, and the lemon more fragrant. With the dill, the broth is surprisingly delicate and is a lovely counterpoint to the large, rustic chunks of sweet carrot, chicken and potato. - Amanda and Merrill<br><em>Photo: Sarah Shatz</em>

  • Spicy Sesame Pork Soup with Noodles

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/20691-spicy-sesame-pork-soup-with-noodles" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br> This soup tastes as soul-satisfying as it is to make. It's a long haul -- but the kind that we love to get in our element and make, methodically. The smoky, spicy, long-simmered end result just sweetens the reward. - Amanda and Merrill<br><em>Photo: James Ransom</em>

  • Reform Jewish Penicillin

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/20653-reform-jewish-penicillin" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>This soup tastes like your mom's chicken noodle went on an exotic trip around the world -- and didn't come back until it had partied in every discothéque, tiki hut, and cabana there was. Consider us reformed. - Amanda and Merrill<br><em>Photo: James Ransom</em>

  • Turkey Pho

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/1919-turkey-pho" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br> Anyone who knows pho knows that it's all about the broth. WinnieAb uses turkey leftovers (meat and stock, which should really be homemade for this) to coax the most out of this soup. She also adds some warm spices -- coriander, cloves, star anise and cinnamon -- which she toasts beforehand to amp up the broth. Chopped kale is an unusual addition that adds some welcome heft -- we preferred 1 cup rather than 2. - Amanda and Merrill <br><em>Photo: Sarah Shatz</em>

  • Ribollita

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/14464-ribollita" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>Ribollita is a true pantry supper. It begins with soffrito, the Italian base of sautéed onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Canned tomatoes provide depth of flavor while cannellini beans are a cheap but tasty source of protein. The blistered leaves of cavolo nero contribute texture and a nutty, slightly bitter flavor. Chunks of stale bread added at the end of cooking absorb broth, thickening the soup. - la domestique <br><em>Photo: Sarah Shatz</em>

  • Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

    <em><strong><a href="http://food52.com/recipes/19366-mexican-chicken-noodle-soup" target="_hplink">Get the recipe on Food52</a></strong>.</em><br>Think Chicken Noodle soup with the amazing mexican flavors of tomatoes, lime and a little spice. It's super simple and everyone loves it. - jessie schupack <br><em>Photo: Sarah Shatz</em>


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