Soup is the ultimate home cooked meal to me. Every soup maker seems to have their own particular secrets to making soup - they use different ingredients, dice onions a specific way, use different bowls, different toppings, and different ways of serving.
Whenever I'm served a bowl of soup, I think about the dicing, chopping, browning, and simmering that went into making it and can't help but feel unequivocally welcomed. It seems like such a great act of hospitality to go through all this effort and planning. Over the years, the more soup I've eaten, the more special it has become to me. There is nothing more warming than a bowl of simple homemade soup.
Unfortunately, as I learned last winter, making soups is not my strong suit. It occurred to me as I stood over a far-too-liquidy bean soup that, while I'd eaten a lot of other people's soup, I'd never really made soup myself. This made sense the more I thought about it: Soup, with its often long cook times and large batches, is one of the more impractical things for a hurried college student with limited means of food storage to make.
I wanted to get better at making soup, and I thought the best way to do this would be to make it often. So, the winter of our first year of marriage, I started something fondly known as Sunday Soup Night. As you may have guessed, this is where we eat soup on Sunday nights. We set the table, get good bread, light some candles, and fill the soup tureen that we registered for and now own (registries are cool, huh?) with the soup of the week.
Since starting this weekly ritual, we've noticed a lot of benefits that will ensure we continue to do it. These have included, in no particular order:
- Freeing up our Sundays. Since so many of the soups I wanted to try required hours of simmering, and because everyone knows soup gets better the day after you make it, I decided that every weekend I would make a soup on Saturday, then we would just need to reheat it on Sunday. We are trying to get more serious about not doing any work on Sundays, and having dinner ready to go has helped so much with this!
- Leftovers! We use them for lunches, and sometimes a mid-week dinner. Leftover soup is delicious, easy, and economical.
- Soup is amazingly versatile. There are chilis and chowders, meat soups and vegetarian soups, rice soups, soups with toppings, pureed soups, soups from all manner of ethnic backgrounds. We ate soup (almost) every single week for 4 months last year, didn't have any repeats, and never got tired of it.
- Having a nice, sit-down dinner is the perfect way to end the weekend. We debrief about the last week and talk about what we have going on the next week. And having a meal at the table feels extra special to us because we are newlyweds with no kids and we eat dinner on the couch far more often than we like to admit.
- Soup is so comforting. Sitting down to a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold Michigan night has become one of my favorite parts of the week.
With November drawing to a close and the weather getting colder, we're looking forward to kicking off a second year of weekly soup nights. Once a month from December through March (or possibly later, weather depending), I will be sharing a favorite tried and true soup recipe from Sunday Soup Night. I hope you will follow along and maybe even make some of your own soup creations!
I'd love to hear about your thoughts on soup, your favorite kinds of soup, and your best soup-eating experience!