Saturday, October 24, 2009

Soup's On

I made wedding soup today.

It's been a long time since I made wedding soup. It's not a difficult dish to prepare, really - it's time consuming in the way that homemade meals can be, especially if they require you to take a pound and a half of ground beef and turn it into 1/2-inch diameter meatballs, but there is something soothing about that labor. Plus you can do that while watching large men fight over a small ball on a big screen, and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

The only hard part is finding the escarole.

Yes, you can make it with spinach, but you can make lasagna with cottage cheese too. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

I first ate wedding soup on a regular basis in Pittsburgh, when I was working downtown. There was a deli across from one of the many temp paralegal jobs I had that year - a real deli, run by two grouchy old men who clearly felt that their food was better than their customers deserved. These were not "gruff-exterior-but-heart-of-gold" kind of grouchy old men either. They were grouchy clear through to the bone.

But they made great food.

And you could get a quart of thick, hot wedding soup for around $4, which was just a grand thing on a temp paralegal paycheck. There were a bunch of us who made that trek at least once or twice a week.

I never saw an entire episode of Seinfeld, but I have to say the character of the Soup Nazi always made perfect sense to me. My brother and sister-in-law have actually eaten at the place where the real Soup Nazi cooked, and they said he was pretty much exactly as portrayed in the show. These guys weren't up to that level, but they made good soup and they took no guff from greenhorn customers.

When Kim and I got married, we had the caterer make us wedding soup. It seemed appropriate. We had to provide the recipe, since there are no Italians around here, and we also had to provide detailed instructions as to how to go about getting escarole (which you could not buy in Our Little Town then, probably for the same reason that we had to provide the recipe to the caterer, come to think of it), but it was worth it.

You can now get escarole locally, which means Our Little Town is moving up in the world, I think.

So wedding soup for dinner was just about right tonight. Add in fresh-baked homemade bread, and you've got yourself a meal.

1 comment:

Katherine McKay said...

Nana made wedding soup all the time. It was one of my favorites. I think you first ate it when you were really young and didn't really appreciate it then. It was usually a "starter" to a holiday meal. Definitely good eating!