Thursday, October 13, 2016

Are You Addicted To SOUP?

It was when recently watching Bill Simmons do his best Bull Durham speech on HBO that I had succumbed to Step One: Admit we are powerless over this soup addiction.

Folks. Here you typically find a photograph with some witty rhetoric and a detailed logistic of how the shot was, well, shot.

At this very moment I'm not quite sure we will touch on technique as the urge to point out the big pink elephant standing in the middle of the room.

Either way, I just wanted to change


It had to be, oh, about 3 or 4 years ago when he arrived; the monkey on my back.


Look, it's not that soup hadn't held a special place in my heart up until that magical day but that medley of Vietnamese deliciousness, oh my. If you haven't had a gigantic bowl of Pho, I'm gonna allow you to close this article and return when you have been awoken.

Here are Pho's basics ::

beef (they make chicken and vegan but you gotta go beef)
bean sprouts
Sriracha or your personal preference for heat
and the star of the show. . .
that broth. Oh my that succulent, savory broth.
But we aren't here today to talk about Vietnamese cuisine. 

We are here to sit and think about the soup craze that is sweeping across the nation. 

Experience and Observation

As mentioned, prior to the first contact with Pho, I had already been a fan of the hot (or cold) and liquified. 

As a kid, I was raised on a variety of soups that were common under our roof: pastini, lentil, escarole, chili (it's soupy), tomato, stews, et. al. 

I saw your flag go up when I mentioned pastini. It's an Italian or more specifically, a South Philly Italian soup staple. You see, I grew up in a predominately Irish-Italian household, with a sprinkling of a couple other European DNA in my blood. 

Coconut, Potato and Curry
Fast forward to adulthood and my wife Stefanie, an avid and awesome cook, would introduce to me more hot, wet goodness, along with taking on those recipes of my youth. 

Did I yearn for these brews of meats and vegetables? Well, they were appreciated dearly but I really think it was that first slurp of Pho that opened my eyes, or rather, piqued my curiosity as to the vast world of soaked subsistence. 

Further, taking a step back, it seemed that I wasn't the only one with this new obsession. Sure, while most of us, at homes, with family, will have soup as the one and only main course for supper, in restaurants, soup was simply a preface to what would be the star of an evening's culinary event.  

Today, and still to the awe of many, soup, in the commercial settings, have taken the limelight. Don't believe me? Maybe a coincidence or serendipity but around the same time that I got the itch for breathtaking broths, eateries specializing in soup began to pop up around me.

Not to get into reviews here as they are both out-of-this-world, titty-city, fantastic yummerificness. 

Not in any special order ::
  • The Soup Kitchen Cafe
  • The Good Spoon Soupery
And the epidemic had begun, sweeping the land with the wrath and efficiency as Frank Lucas did with heroin to Harlem and beyond. 

We, yes, you and I, have become junkies to the stock. 

False Positive

There may be a handful of you that are attributing this phenomenon to Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi. Although there may be a single neuron popping some id into some chefs psyche, I think, with that minute influence that there is a much more superficial and obvious reason that entrepreneurs are making bank on things like Pho or authentic Japanese Ramen or African Peanut Soup or Gazpacho for that matter. 


Before sharing with you my hypothesization about our enslavement; spoon to bowl to broth, I want to point out a few personal, ummmm, points of why I could live on soup 24/7/365, breakfast lunch and dinner. Ok, I'm actually just a coffee drinker in the morning but didn't coffee begin as soup somewhere in it's history?

So how do I think some of us, a lot of us, have become shackled to the spoon? BTW, I say this while dripping homemade egg drop soup down my chin. Super easy to make people! Well, actually, I fucked it up a little but still very edible.


Potato Leek with Bacon
Come on now. You all know what that means and if you don't then get your fucking dick out of the dirt. Or is it head out of the sand? Doesn't matter. What are today's stats? Some 1.7 billion humans on planet Earth out of 7 billion humans on planet Earth are active users of Facebook as of 2016. And if you calculate users of other social media sites, the figures will just boggle your mind. Not really thought, right? I mean at this point, we you are all cogs in the machine, aren't you? I meant that in a delicate way as mostly creatives hang around this blog, we try to create more than consume content. 

I digress. 

Short attention span theater people. Adderall Nation. Mark has created a planet of human flies. Think Jeff Goldblum, circa 1986, on crack. If you had no idea as to the reference, it was The Fly. Classic movie here people. Ok, maybe not classic but worth a watch. 

In any case, we all buzz around day by day, all twitchy and shit. We scroll up our iPhones (I'm biased towards Apple, deal with it) with the ferocity of, I don't know but it's quite fierce. Of the bazillion photos posted on the gram each day we spend about a fraction of a fraction of a second looking at those that seem to really pull us in. Crazy town right? 

Let's talk about this exact blog post for a moment. If I check the demos in, say a month, it may show that there were 2000 landings. Of those 2000, half bounced right the fuck out as they thought they landed there by accident. Half of that half digs the opening photo and then clicks away. Half of the other half liked the title and opened the post, read maybe one or two sentences. Half of the other remaining half know the blog and are avid photographers who look at the photos and scan for the BTS and metadata. The remaining half of that half are actually curious about both the photography and the article and give their best to focus until they get a text and focus is lost forever until I write again. 

Catch my drift? This is you. This is me. 

As for the bowl of beef barley, no worries, I always connect the dots. Not always but always give it that ole college try. 

These days, while we all are running on overdrive, all the time, we are all more health conscious than ever. Drive by a McDonald's these days and, to me anyway, those and others are looking more and more like landmarks of a time that once was. Personally, I haven't stepped foot in a fast food joint like that for well over a decade now. u

Having said that, in this fast functioning society, we want our information NOW and our organic grass fed meals EFFICIENT. I mean who the fuck has time to use and knife and fork? That takes two hands people!!!! How the fuck will everyone scroll, text or type with both hands being occupied at dinner. 

Idealists will say "no iPhones at the dinner table".

Realists say "fuck off mom, get with the program (progress) or get run over" (via text message across the table of course).

Can you feel the segue people!??!! Can you feel it?!! 

Soup mother fuckers!!! Yes. The awesomely delicious answer to help us become even more tweaked out than ever before. 

Sure, I say this facetiously but I'm on the train with you my friends. I'm the guru of Goulash, the king of Kharcho, the sultan of Salmorejo. 

Efficiency. Some of the haters out there are dying to debate me and use the sandwich defense. I dig your thinking BUT, are you ready for it? 

Soup is so efficient that it even eliminates the need to lubricate the mouth with a beverage. The bread of a sandwich is certainly going to make you reach for a glass of water, beer or what have you. 

Excuse me while I drop the mic. 


Empty Vessel and in My Belly From The Good Spoon Soupery
Don't mistake efficiency with speed. Trust me, when it's time for a ginormous bowl of Pho, I take the time to methodically and ritualistically introduce each ingredient into the piping hot broth. Before even picking up a single chopstick (chopsticks require one hand smart asses), I visually admire while taking in the unique aroma. No rush here my friends.

Come to think of it, maybe it's the perception of slowed time while enjoying the heavenly stocks that helps slow our engines if ever so slightly. 

Or who the fuck cares?!

We all need answers these days. Stop it!

Let us just enjoy its simplicity and uniquity at the same time.

Until next time...