Thursday, December 8, 2011

Soup is Good Food

Note: The title of this post was meant to be a reference to a Dead Kennedy's song, but then I realized it's also the Campbell's Soup slogan. Oh well. 

—Gigi Pandian

I've given up making declarations about things I'll never do. Life changes too much for it to make sense to say I'll never do a particular thing, even if it seems ridiculously out of the question at a given time.

Take buying a house. I never planned on staying in one place long enough that I'd do it, but here we are in a cute little house outside of San Francisco.

I also never thought I'd be interested in becoming a good cook. But our little house came with an amazing kitchen (below). For the first time in my adult life, I had sufficient counter space and a gas stove. Low and behold, I discovered cooking was fun!

My Dutch Oven is probably my favorite thing in the kitchen. I can make soup from scratch that tastes better than anything I can buy, and it gives me leftovers that last all week. (I'm always cold, so soup really is good food.)

Butternut squash soup with homemade croutons.

French onion soup.

I've learned that it's the little things that make the difference in cooking soup: learning that a shallot is not the same thing as a small onion, adding spices at the right time, making sure you brown the garlic and onions first, adding a flavorful garnish at the end. I realize that you probably already knew all of these things, but they're still new for me!

I read that Julia Child didn't learn to cook or learn French until she was 36—exactly my age—so there's still hope for me on both fronts. Yup, I've also been trying to get better at my French. Speaking of which, I should probably go do my lesson for the day. So I'll leave you with a few photos of the backyard garden where I get many of the ingredients for my soups.

Herbs in the backyard garden.

Chard in the garden. Chard is a great substitute in soups that call for Spinach.

Pretending to water the garden; in truth, I only approach the watering can to take artsy photos of it.


Sophie Littlefield said...

love the watering can photo, gigi! I'm a big soup fiend myself. It's just so darn good for you and also my favorite thing to cook. I like to really overcook the onions, peppers/etc. that you put in first. I like 'em a little bit charred. I also have a favorite ingredient that I put in just about every soup - hominy. The rest of hte people in my house aren't as crazy about it as I am, so it takes me a while to go through a whole pot.

Gigi Pandian said...

I never thought about adding hominy to soup. I love Mexican food, so I must try that sometime.

Today all I can think about is how much I love COFFEE. But I'll get excited about soup again soon enough.

Unknown said...

Love this! As always your photos are gorgeous!! I'm making a curried butternut squash and chicken soup for dinner tonight. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

ps. personally I believe coffee tastes best with good friends. :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

This is so great! I read recently that we (as a nation) are losing the ability to cook, which is adding to our weight gain and general bad health, not to mention costing a fortune (because folks eat out). I think soup might be the answer for all of it!

Mysti said...

i'm a brand new convert to soup. it's going to save my life once I get off food replacement stuff.

I've got a crock pot, and I'm going to learn how to use it!

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