The Season of Soup
By Larissa Phillips
Here we are in the depths of winter. Party season? Long over. Waistlines? Expanded. Bank accounts? Depleted. The school year? Far from over.
The good news? It\'s a great time for one of the most effective, time-worn methods of soul restoration known to mankind: Soup is on!
Soup is one of those everyday miracles you never think about - until it\'s dinner time and you\'re ladling out this incredible steamy goodness that you made hours, days or even weeks ago. What\'s not to love?
Even ancient moms must have known a good technique when they saw it, one that turns dried items, like beans or pasta, into a cheap comforting concoction that nourishes, makes the home smell good and can be easily frozen for later use. OK, maybe the freezing part wasn\'t so big with ancient moms, but it is for modern moms.
The only problem: soup is not always high on kids\' lists of favorite foods. Don\'t worry, there are some ways around this:
- Use large chunks of recognizable favorites, like ham, chicken, dumplings or noodles, and be prepared to let them pick out their favorite stuff.
- Serve with buttered bread, or croutons with melted cheese on top, which can be dipped into the soup.
- Try clear broths with noodles and vegetables that can be pushed aside. If kids can get used to eating broth, the rest is just around the corner.
- Go for blended soups. One color, one texture can be more appealing to our complexity-averse young ones.
Sunday afternoons are a great time for immersing yourself in the Zen-like process of chopping and simmering a great soup. If you have a baby or toddler, set him up in a highchair and offer bits of the foods to play with (make sure they aren\'t a choking hazard). Older kids can be given a plastic knife and asked to chop soft materials, like mushrooms, or tear up greens. Or, they can de-stem herbs, pound a mortar and pestle, or press the buttons on the food processor. (Or, it can be "grown-up" meditation time; no kids allowed.)
I like to make a double recipe and freeze it, following one of my favorite kitchen maxims: Cook once, eat twice! Nothing relieves the indignities of a cold, raw day like heating up some homemade soup. It\'s the best kind of instant dinner I know.
Larissa Phillips is an award-winning writer, cooking instructor and the contributing food editor for Parenthood.com and Dominion Parenting Media. Email her at FeedingYourFamily@Parenthood.com.