The Art of Good Soup: Lucky and charming

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

We are tired. Sadie has purple feet (and them dogs are BARKING). Ellie ate salsa for breakfast. With salt. But it was pico de gallo, which makes it a little better?

Given our exhaustion, we decided that this week we would start an important and potentially contentious commentary. It is about time we ask the difficult question: What is the definition of soup?

To test this question, we engaged in a study. Our independent variable was milk. Of the oat variety. It should be noted at this time that the last science class we took was Big Bang to Humankind. Sadie is also in Human Nutrition, but that doesn’t count for much. She would let anything inside her body. Like whole milk, and other things.

Our dependent variable was Lucky Charms. Of the magically delicious variety. Although, we did not eat them, because that would disrupt the experiment, and we are scientists with integrity. We chose Lucky Charms for their distinguished combination of marshmallows and cereal pieces.

With this in mind, we considered the widely accepted properties of soup. It must, first and foremost, be liquid. But it can contain chunks. It can also be cold. It doesn’t always have to be hot. However, cold soup, like gazpacho, sucks. I mean, at that point you might as well slurp some tomato sauce. What is gourmet about some mushed-up tomatoes in a bowl? That’s just baby food, really. And we are gorgeous girls with sophisticated palates and a deep, deep hatred for cold things that taste better warm.

We are aware that cold pizza reigns supreme. Our findings and opinions are not generalizable to other food groups.

But liquid alone does not make for a particularly exciting soup. So, we’ve decided another criteria is texture. How viscous is the liquid? Do stews and chowders make the cut? What about applesauce? Or hot fudge? Or yogurt? Or a bowl of salsa with salt?

If you look at it that way, anything can be soup. But maybe we should not be quite so liberal. Because a steak in a bowl is not soup, nor is a child in a bathtub. Would cereal in milk make the cut?

We say yes. After a few minutes of soakage, we poked and prodded our masterpiece with a fork. Spoons are only used for rating good soup. The cereal bobbed about as we examined the melted marshmallows. Their colors had bled into the milk, creating a fascinating swirl of blue and green. Like the Earth from space, or a bunch of Lucky Charms stirred with the wrong utensil.

You could argue that today’s specimen was neither good nor soup. But what truly makes a soup good is the slurper you slurp it with. Unfortunately, we hate each other. Kidding. So go forth and spoon with your friends. Or the cute boy you like. Any soup is good soup. It’s all relative. Except maybe don’t spoon with your relatives.

We rate this soup 2 spoons. That’s it. Bye.


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