The Art of Good Soup: Two girls, four pots

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

Good things come to those who wait. At least, that’s what we tried to convince ourselves as the minutes grew in our wait for hot pot at Q Restaurant in Boston. Fifteen minutes turned into 40, and we simply were not having it.

In theory, it should be every souper’s paradise. Wide pots of scalding broth sit at the center of every table, into which eager guests can dip their meat. If you did that anywhere else, it would be considered indecent exposure. 

In any case, despite the painful wait (and oh, was it painful, smelling each meal that passed us on the way to someone else’s table), our meal was still good, soup and good soup. 

We ordered two steaming pots, each divided in two, so we had a total of four delicious broths. We were a big group. And we could consume lots and lots of liquids. Anyway, there was mushroom, tomato seafood and something really spicy that seemed the perfect punishment for the masculine urge to say you like whatever spicy food sits in front of you. Men will put anything in their mouths to prove a point or make some money.  

The seafood broth came with some friends. There was a whole shrimp in there –– legs, weird scrawny legs, and eyes. He was such a big boy. And those eyes of his were looking right at us. We watched a male dismantle it before us — nearly sent our soup back up. But he enjoyed eating it, and that’s what counts?

We were also presented with plates piled high with meat. Raw meat. Do we even need to make that joke? Anyway, after our long wait, we were eager to slurp it right up. There were many challenges for us in our journey to eat lots and lots of hot pot. First, we had to coordinate dipping the raw foods into alternating pots of steaming liquids. A hand would reach over an extended arm. Someone would drop a piece of meat in a cauldron, never to see it again. One person even consumed a piece of tofu, only to find out one bite later that it was, in fact, not tofu. Instead, it was something fishy that certainly had not spent enough time cooking in the mushroom stew. But sometimes you get things you don’t expect. And that’s just expected.

We were on top of each other, and everyone was sweating. Flushed faces rounded the table. Everyone needed water when we were done. Our legs hurt from standing to get the perfect pot angle. Our mouths ached as we stuffed in more and more. When we reached bowl bottom –– four times (oh my, the rarity), it was sublime. 

We rate this soup (soups?) 8.7463507 spoons. It may be difficult, but good soup can be a group thing too. As we say goodbye, in this very last normal edition of the soup column, we’d like you to keep one thing in mind: You still don’t know the meaning behind the spoon scale. 

Kisses,
Two gorgeous, gorgeous girls who love soup. And making you uncomfortable. 


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