The weather has finally turned cool, clouds hanging low in the sky and clouds of tissues strewn around all the people dealing with seasonal colds. Monday coffee and conversation last week were substituted by sniffles and soup as one of us woke up with a scratchy throat, bunged up nose and general disgruntlement with life. All gone now, we are back to our cheery conversational selves. But it started us off on a soupy conversation and how a cold sufferer is better off with a steaming bowl of soup rather than any medicine.
LL: Soups I feel are the solid things in life. A zillion varieties and combinations, one can literally have a different type each day of the year and yet not run out.
PS: In sickness they become the ultimate comfort food. Reams have been written about the therapeutic qualities of chicken soup, not to mention its soulful effect. But in cold, wet weather the thought of a flavourful steaming bowl, the aroma wafting up to ones nose, clearing blocked passages and tickling taste buds has a cocooning effect.
LL: For me, I like the liquid along with something to munch upon, whether it is croutons or wantons or oodles of noodles.
PS: I can never decide which I like best. The thick broccoli and cream or asparagus and cream don’t really need the munch factor but the clear Chinese soups are great with the crackling crispy rice. The Mexican tortilla soup is great to sink ones teeth into.
LL: Sometimes the soups in our memory taste better than anything else. Like the Tibetan thukpa we had in the canteen at NIM (The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering), after a six day trek walking up and down steep and cold Himalayan mountains, having dealt with the trauma of getting lost, not having enough oxygen to breathe and a distinct lack of basic amenities.
PS: I think as far as the thukpa goes, we enjoyed it more because we threw a combined fit at the prospect of the boring old thali meal arranged for us when there were previously unencountered soupy delights available. The taste sometimes also depends on the environs. The most wonderful soup I ever had was on a freezing June night with temperature at -2 degrees, a desolate landscape above the treeline, and chill winds blowing off Pangong Lake. Upon inquiry, I was informed that it was either Maggi or Knorr or a mix of the two!
LL: So much for culinary delights. But we should not forget to mention the good old Indian version – the fiery Rasam and of course its corrupted version of, the Mulligatawny.
PS: I have been drinking bucket loads of the pepper rasam and it works! Here we are gossiping away. A soupy lunch is on the cards.