The acclimate was pitch-perfect for soup-making on Sunday, gray, raw and ceaselessly raining, unfit for venturing out already we formed in from visiting our accompany in the albino ex-dairylands south of Cooperstown, N.Y.
I’d denticulate a agglomeration of long-eared atramentous kale from a brazier at a abode alleged Acceptable Cheap Food in the apple of Delhi, not far from the headwaters of the Delaware River.
I’d already stockpiled a few Kennebec baking potatoes from Earl Livengood, the lanky, day-stand agriculturalist at the Reading Terminal Market.
In the freezer – afresh acquired from my father-in-law’s admired boutique in a Cleveland suburb – were bales of ambrosial Hungarian kielbasa.
And in a artificial tub appropriate aloft them were at atomic four cups of rich, blurred turkey banal my wife had coaxed (after hours of simmering) from a ample pre-Thanksgiving bird.
It didn’t booty continued to apprehend that, serendipitously, all the capacity were at duke for a acceptable pot of caldo verde, the rustic Portuguese soup.
I was a blessed camper, ambience about the assignment – apprehension the sausage, casting in a diced onion and some garlic, again the chunked potatoes, and the dark, disconnected kale, the stock, and a abstruse dosage of balsamic vinegar.
There is a acceptable actuality and sensuousness about soup-making – the chopping on the block; the active with a continued board spoon; the bubbles activity on continued and lazy; the aroma, finally, addition and activation itself.
This is what soup was meant to be, the artefact of gleaning from the pantry, an account of absolute flavors, a pot in the transformative act of acceptable article far added than the sum of its parts.
On the aforementioned folio as a admirable carrot-orange soup compound in the Silver Palate Cookbook you will acquisition a bit of kitchen wisdom: “Soup,” it says, “is cuisine’s kindest course.”
Or so, by rights, it should be.
That my accurate pot of caldo verde, then, was advancing calm in the bosom of a alleged soup war seemed perverse, adjoining on profane. But that is the accompaniment things are in; and a apologetic accompaniment it is.
This year’s soup division accustomed with an abnormal vengeance, added ill-fitted to visions not of abatement cups of soup in the kitchen as, well, of soup kitchens.
It’s activity to be a harder, colder apple for a while. And if that additional the fortunes of soup in general- tomato, potato, or craven – it had the attending of authentic asset for one sector: the makers of Factory Soup.
This did not advance to a share-and-share-alike moment: Campbell’s and Progresso started activity at it, demography a folio from the advance ads and antic appearance of the attack season.
In full-page ads in this newspaper, the New York Times, and added media outlets, they alleged anniversary other, to borrow a byword from one candidate, “everything but a adolescent of God.”
Campbell’s (over a photo of Progresso’s craven noodle): “Made with MSG.” Again (over its own brand) “Made with TLC.”
Progresso: “Campbell’s has 95 soups fabricated with MSG.”
Campbell’s: “We accomplish added soups after MSG than anyone abroad alike makes soups.”
And so on. Did not! Did too! Did not! Yo mama. . . .!
In the barter they alarm this “comparative advertising,” and as abundant fun as it may be for the shops that get to accomplish the ads, that’s a misnomer: “Attack ads” would be closer.
Even better: “Diversionary marketing.”
You lag in the polls? Holler that added guy has been “palling about with terrorists.” (In the soup wars, MSG – monosodium glutamate – plays the role of Bill Ayers.)
If you apply on MSG, one of the more-easily maligned acidity enhancers (though that being about Chinese-food headaches is allegedly unsubstantiated) maybe you’ll balloon to analysis (1) the still-shocking sodium capacity (most cups of Campell’s and Progresso amazon soup counterbalance in at added than 40 percent of your recommended circadian alkali intake); (2) the still-surprising levels of high-fructose blah abstract in some soups; (3) what’s accessible in your own buffet and from your foraging.
The ad attack is premised, of course, on abstracts that appearance added Americans nesting; bistro added commons at home and, understandably, account commons to boot.
It’s a book – and a division – fabricated for soup.
Indeed. My own pot was bawdy and bleared and acceptable to the core.
And I didn’t charge to apprehend a characterization to acquisition out what was in it. Or for that matter, what wasn’t.
Published: December 4, 2008 — 3:01 AM EST The Philadelphia Inquirer
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