A girl named soup

I’ve been making soup on the weekends. Two different kinds of soup, if I can manage it (lately I can), and we have some for dinner Sunday night and then portion out the rest to take to work with our salads. I never used to be a soup person. Soup was all sippy and precious and tedious, and I never quite believed that the food in soup was real food. If anything it was ghost food, sad little wraiths of celery and onion drifting around in a murky brothy underworld. But this was because soup in a can was the only soup I knew. It was also because I used to only like food that could punch me in the stomach from the inside. Soup just wasn’t thuggish enough, unless it had cream or cheese or noodles or dumplings or pizzas floating in it. But hey, these days I like the soup, and it goes well with This Thing I’m Doing, which has gotten me to cook stuff I might not have made otherwise. I suspect that if I didn’t have to cook vegan, I’d be trying to make pitiful low-fat versions of all kinds of cheesy chowdery thug crap, which of course is never as good as the real crap. Theoretically you can make vegan versions of cheesy, chowdery crap, but it’s a pain in the ass, and it tends to involve ingredients that Chris is allergic to, and most days I do my best not to kill him.

So see, I have no choice but to make the black bean soup and the spicy carrot peanut soup and the roasted squash and cauliflower soup and oh, it’s a living hell, I tell you, me in the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon with my hand blender and my enameled cast-iron pot, listening to the radio and wrangling soup. Yesterday I made the tomato soup recipe from the latest issue of BUST, and today I made harira, which has become a This Thing favorite around here. So now we’re set.

I know there’s more to it all than this, but the soup days are doing me good. Yesterday was sort of a hard day—it reminded me I’m still stumbling around after all that’s happened in the last six weeks. I spent half the afternoon taking a nap and the other half in the kitchen with the soup, and yes, that helped. Hence, soup.


  1. says

    Wendy, glad to hear you are up and about and making soup. I’m really sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. You are in my thoughts.

  2. says

    Might I recommend “Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons” by Nava Atlas? It’s an excellent cookbook, and most of the recipes are vegan or can be made so. I missed out on soups for years after going vegetarian because I thought meat-stock-free soups had to be bland and sad. But they don’t! Hooray for soup!

  3. says

    oooooooooo….spicy carrot peanut soup? if you know a great recipe for this will you please post it? we’re eating a lot of soup around here these days…..sorry I don’t know any good vegan recipes.

    you are an inspiration Wendy!

  4. says

    Soup – ugh! You know for some reason I just have never been a big fan. Although each one you have talked about sounds very yummy I just can’t bring myself to really eat soup. Chili I can do and maybe tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, but that is about it. Maybe there is something wrong with me.

  5. says

    >>> “…I used to only like food that could punch me in the stomach from the inside.”

    Oh, this made me laugh. I really enjoy your writing (and I appreciate the links to those wonderful recipes). Thank you.

  6. says

    I’m a whore for soups.

    One of my faves is a soup I originally had at a Greek restaurant near here. It’s a lemon rice soup and it’s just gorgeous. Every time I make some, I want to roll in it. It would be awesome if you could find a vegan version of it; it has eggs for a thickener and chicken broth as a base, but the star is the lemon, so you could probably sub in veggie broth and cornstarch and be OK. Check out the recipe at Cooks.com (“Greek Lemon Rice Soup”…I’d link ya but I suck at html in comments)

  7. says

    Totally making that carrot and peanut soup tonight as I have a mess o’ carrots to use up. Rock.

    Was with Claire Zulkey on Saturday – hi back to you! Hope to see you soon – xoxox

  8. says

    Amber makes that black bean soup from the Moosewood book, and I lurve it, and I love inside-punching food and meat and the like.

    Of course, I put a big dollop of sour cream into it and sprinkle shredded chedder cheese on top, but still: black bean soup is not just vegans!

  9. says

    I have some awesome macrobiotic soup recipes, I should dig them out and email them to you. They feature seaweed, which in small doses is kind of like Worcester sauce – it adds a certain savory je-ne-sais-quoi.

    Soup is the perfect comfort food when you’re feeling fra-gee-lay. That and chai with soy milk and honey.

  10. Dona says

    Mmmm, soup. I’m partial to the WW Black Bean Soup. It’s so thick you can eat it with chips. Or, you know, carrot sticks.

  11. says

    If it’s nut allergy Chris has, I take my hat off to both of you. My OH is allergic to nuts (except peanuts and almonds) and I’m vegetarian, and we find it quite a challenge…

  12. says

    I like soup of all kinds, canned, fresh… whatever.

    The cauliflower one sounds good to me.

    I wish I could do the thing you’re doing, but everyone else in my house is totally carnivourous and it would probably be too much of an increase in my grocery bill… and things are way too tight. So, I’ll just live vicariously through you and your soup.

  13. Brownie says

    From one soup maker to another.. a tip:
    Store your frozen soups in ziplock bags.
    They take up less room in the freezer, they are easier to label, they will be nearly airtight and you can store them in various size serving bags. Whatever you do, DO NOT shove them in the freezer all together! They will freeze together like a horrible frozen interlocking frozen soup hell. Lay them flat and stack them neatly. Plus, you don’t end up having to use up every single leftover container in your house.

  14. says

    I always aspire to do what you’re doing (make up big pots and then freeze some for later), but haven’t actually tried it yet. I am impressed by your frozen soups.

  15. Margaret says

    Not to go all Hints from Heloise on you (sorry, showing my age, I guess I should say go all Martha Stewart) but I also make soup stock out of all my leftover bits, like onion, carrot, celery and leek ends; also chicken bones since we’re not veg. Just keep throwing that stuff in a bag in the freezer then cook it down when you have a bag full. When you’ve done that, freeze the stock in ice cube trays because they defrost way faster than a big tub of stock. I’m very excited about Brownie’s suggestion for individual servings because I love soup but the rest of my family hates it. And I never thought about the ziplock bag technique.

  16. Wendy says

    Yeah, I make stock in the crock pot since we use so much of it.

    I don’t know about ice cubes, though… I usually need it several cupfuls at a time (and so I freeze it in one- and two-cup portions). I ought to use Brownie’s bag idea for the stock. I’ll stick with single-serving plastic containers for the soups themselves, since they’re so easy to grab and pack for work.

  17. Emily says

    Oh! I was just looking through my new BUST and saw that. Yum. I’m a little scared of the squash soup though. It’s always so sweet and thick- it tastes like magical sludge. Also, white bean soups are awesome. Any recipe will do and you substitute veggie broth for chicken and mushrooms for pork, and you get to put white wine in! Yay! And finish the rest of the bottle while it cooks! Yay!

    Also, I just read your article in BUST. Awesome. And funny how these media outlets give these waify little stars crap for being skeletal 6 months after they were calling them cows…. Hmm. Wonder why they lost so much weight?

  18. mykull says


    Soup! Soup!
    Soup for lunch!
    Soup for dinner!
    Soup for brunch!
    Soup for a winner!
    Soup for you!
    Soup for me!
    Soup for who?
    Soup for three!
    Soup all day!
    Soup all night!
    Soup ain’t gay!
    Soup’s all right!
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 SOUP!

    –Aaron Anstett

  19. Margaret says

    I also use the stock cubes to perk up other things I cook, since I now try to avoid those little lumps o’ salt called boullion cubes. And I’ve been known to throw one into my son’s bowl of soup to cool it down without completely diluting the flavor! I like my soup blistering hot, but he needs it more tepid.

  20. says

    Yes, tried to make some eternal soup a while ago, in the spirit of fabled magic bags that were always filled with delicious food. It was a fantastic arab lentil soup, and I even did the ziplog thing. But then, perversely, the ziplocs bursted. And my freezer sported for a long time frozen lentils everywhere, which, by the way, is a horrible look in the freezer fashionista world. Never tried it again.

  21. ginna says

    I made the spicy carrot soup tonight and it rocks! Twinkies might clog your arteries, but carrot peels clog your sink.

  22. says

    I heart soup, especially in this kind of weather. Some of my favorite soup recipes come from the America’s test kitchen Cooking Light cookbooks. I have this one and this 30 minute one (which would come in handy if you don’t want to spend all afternoon in the kitchen) and both have some really spectacular soup recipes in them, many of which are veggie, or can be easily made veggie by substituting a few ingredients (chicken broth for veg. broth,etc.). For vegan cook books, my friend raves about Vegan with a vengeance which has some soup recipes but most importantly has a huge collection of highly rated vegan cupcake recipes. And what kind of nazi doesn’t love cupcakes?

    Happy souping!

  23. Brownie says

    I have only had a bag burst once (It was when I put the soup in when it is still too warm). You can always double bag it if you have concerns. I also use this technique for spaghetti sauce and for storing my homemade Pesto sauce. I use those tiny little “snack size” bags for the pesto. I cannot figure out what purpose those “snack size” size bags have other than for my Pesto and for drug dealers. I feel like I have to explain my purchase to the cashier everytime I buy them.

  24. shannon says

    I discovered soup in the last couple of years, too. It started with WW’s zero point vegetable soup and then grew from there. I love Safeway Deli soups–the Autumn Butternut Squash is delish. I’ve also been making Pastor Tom’s Tortilla soup all winter. Recipe here: http://www.tbm.org/tortilla_soup.htm

    And I can’t wait til summer when I can start making Gazpacho–or, as I call it, Gaz-choppo (because of all the chopping you have to do to make it). YUM!

  25. sarah says

    so glad i stopped by here. i’m having an “oh fuck i topped my highest weight by 30″ epiphany and your p.o.v. and funniness justs lifts me right up.

    have you tried carrot and ginger soup? i don’t have the recipe, but i used to always eat it at this cafe in college and it is oh-so- filling, flavorful, but not thugish.

    good luck on That Thing. maybe i’ll start making soup, too.

  26. says

    I love potato and leek soup in winter.

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 small rashers bacon, chopped
    3 medium leeks, sliced thinly
    1 kg potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
    2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
    Freshly ground black pepper
    ½ cup grated Parmesan


    1.Heat oil in a large saucepan; add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove from pan.
    2.Add leeks to same pan and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until leeks are tender. Add potatoes and stock and bring to the boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes.
    3.Remove from heat; cool slightly. Blend or process half of the soup mixture until smooth. Pour back in with remainder of soup.
    4.Add cooked bacon to soup and reheat until hot. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.
    5.Serve soup topped with parmesan cheese.