The Art of Good Soup: Wet tomatoes

Graphic art for "The Art of Good Soup" column is pictured. Graphic courtesy Camilla Samuel

We have a confession to make. This week, we almost forgot about good soup. We were so caught up planning events, hosting guests and counting doors and wheels that our minds were elsewhere. We even got stuck in the ‘80s for a bit. And then we got lost in the jungle. It was a little scary, until we realized that camouflage is ugly. Like, really ugly.

Anyway, the journey was a perilous one. We were already late, waiting for a guest columnist who forgot to set his alarm. We also missed a turn and almost got hit by Amazon, UPS and FedEx trucks. Go consumerism!

Still, we made it. Albeit, we were soaked. We didn’t realize it was gonna rain even though three of our friends said it was gonna rain. Sometimes we turn off our ears, so that makes sense. But it’s not our fault.

Our destination was Stephanie’s on Newbury. We entered looking like a sad pack of wet dogs, especially those without hoods. We tried in vain to dry ourselves with the bathroom hand dryer. But the air was cold and not worth the embarrassment of trying to tuck ourselves under the vent. We may or may not have more dignity than that.

We sat upstairs under the skylight. The first thing we noticed was a checklist on the table for customizable bloody marys. We found several of the options quite alarming. We wondered what sort of mental state would make you want Caesar dressing in your bloody mary. Then again, Sadie would eat mayonnaise with a spoon if you let her.

After much deliberation over the menu, we had already ordered our brunch and crushed a monkey bread appetizer when we realized it was Saturday. Our soup column was due that night! We frantically pulled up the menu, debating whether to consider shakshuka or coffee a soup and call it a day. But we couldn’t fail you all like that.

We ordered Stephi’s tomato soup. It came in a shallow bowl with drizzles of olive oil and grilled cheese croutons. It was heavenly.

At first, we were worried this decision might cause a rift. Sadie is a huge tomato souper, but Ellie is not. The base is too creamy and viscous — it freaks her out. Sadie would only disagree because she loves cream, being the dairy lover she is. Monster.

It took one slurp for Ellie to change her mind. This soup was magical. It tasted a little bit like vodka sauce, but that only made it better. We passed it around the table, and the reviews were glowing. Even the gluten-free guest columnist had a ball. He loved it so much that he went to wipe it clean with a home fry just as the waitress reached to take it away. It was awkward. But not for the rest of us — we all laughed.

Nothing better than good soup and laughing at your friend. Laughing with your friend is okay too. 

We rate this soup 6.5309769803277026402647284782649823562346 spoons. We’re gonna go take naps now, night night. It was a busy week. Perhaps we’ll dream of tomato soup.


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