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Tanya Tandoc: Soup Bowls Made With Soul

stu_spivack, flickr Creative Commons

This cold snap makes me think of warm, delicious, lovingly made broths and stews. I love to make soup and I love to eat it. Today, I’m going to talk about soup and the wonderful soups that other people in Wichita make.

I decided to specialize in soup-making after a three-year stint at Larkspur. I opened the restaurant every day and got to be alone with the stove, my ingredients, and my imagination. I liked it perfectly quiet, so I could spend time getting my mind together for the long, noisy day. Making up soup recipes made me happy. Gathering and chopping vegetables, sautéing them, then adding flavors, stock or cream was totally meditative. It still is.

It makes me sad that so much of the soup we eat has been made in factories, shipped frozen, and heated up. Human hands don’t make this soup. It is soulless. So, I have suggestions for soup that is made by real, loving people, who care about what they are doing and do it well.

Credit Khánh Hmoong, flickr Creative Commons

The green chile soup at the Old Mill Tasty Shop is delicious. It is mildly spicy, deeply flavored, with fire-roasted green chiles and pork. Served with a buttered tortilla, it is comfort itself.

Little Saigon serves delicious ph?, a Vietnamese noodle soup with long-simmered spiced broth, rice noodles, and thinly sliced beef. It is served with bean sprouts, fresh basil, lime wedges, and hot peppers that you can add to your taste. I like it with a side of kimchi.

Bella Luna Café makes creamy mushroom soup that is decadent and delicious. Topped with a poof of flaky puff pastry, this soup is one of the best starters in town. They have it at every location.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save those for next time.