The loyalty of soup

It’s winter in Melbourne. This morning my dear son and I stocked up my trolley at the market with neck bones and veggies and bacon and herbs. And today I’ll make soup. A big pot of warming, nourishing soup.

I like soup. In the season of thick socks, scarves and pesky viruses, soup fits. When life is cold or brittle or fragile, a terrine of soup brings comfort.

The American journalist and advice-giver Judith Martin once described soup as like a friend, ‘sensitive’ and ‘loyal’ and ‘honouring’. I like that — a bowl full of friendship to cradle and sip … with toast.

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give you a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who is also capable of doing honour to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? … Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. But soup knows the difference. Soup is sensitive. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”

Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners)

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