A Tale of Two…Soups

Following a hiatus that seemed decidedly brief, I’m back to making soup. I subscribe to the philosophy that soup is a dish best served (when it’s) cold (outside). So I actively try to refrain from making any soup in the warm months because I know – this being Calgary – that soup season comes but eight seven months a year.

In order to navigate ‘soup season’ successfully, one must have more than three recipes in one’s cooking repertoire. For if you eat the same three soups for the majority of the year, chances are you’re going to be culinarily demoralized by the time the snow finally melts for good.

To that end, I’m embarking on an exploratory mission; a quest to find new soups the Johnson boys will love. Err, tolerate.

It began with pumpkin soup, which, admittedly, is not vastly different from the sweet potato or squash soup recipes already in my arsenal. But it was the only recipe that caught my eye as I flipped through a cookbook I’d picked up at the library. I bought a pumpkin. I found a frozen cube of curry paste in the back of my freezer. I made coriander (that’s cilantro for us regular folk) pesto and I served it to my peeps.

They all claimed to like it. ‘This is restaurant quality,’ the professor observed one night when we stood in the kitchen, eating bowls of soup after the boys had gone to bed.



For the next instalment of the soup chronicles, I attempted to recreate a sweet potato chili lime soup I’d tried at the farmer’s market. With no recipe at my disposal, I consulted my friend Google; certain there was precedent somewhere on the internet.

Of course there was.

I chose a couple of recipes that appeared not to be constructed by people interested in losing weight or subscribing to a particular food philosophy.

Sweet potato, onions, garlic, jalapeno (I didn’t dare use a red chilli pepper), cumin, tomato paste, lime juice, and lime zest.

Thirty minutes later I ladled soup into bowls for my angels and sat at the table for a very-late-dinner. The Gort offered to say grace. ‘Thanks for this delicious food and thanks that mom is such a good soup-maker,’ he spoke sincerely. Though I pointedly avoided eye contact, I could sense in my peripheral vision that the professor was suppressing a smirk, trying to get my attention.

Following the sacred moment, the boys tucked into their soup while I returned to the kitchen for whoknowswhat.

‘What IS this taste?!” the previously thankful Gort exclaimed. And not in a ‘wow, this is the best thing ever’ kind of voice.


‘Well I do not like lime.’

The professor gave it his own kiss of death: utter silence.

‘Thanks,’ he muttered as I collected the bowls. It was a thanks offered out of courtesy, with nothing else attached. In lieu of his usual ‘good soup, sweetie’ or ‘that was delicious’, there was nothing.

I didn’t need to ask for his opinion, he’d already given it.

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