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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Chilled Summer Soups

The term “summer soup” is a contradiction in terms, according to my gourmand husband.  For me, this calls for further investigation as to when and why he developed these distinct prejudices against chilled soup on a hot day.

“Cold soup?” he shakes his head.  “I don’t think so.  You and I have been in other countries without airconditioning in the summer.  We either have a cold salad, or eat a hot meal.  But don’t confuse the situation and blur the boundaries.”

I understand if he’s refusing to indulge in cold borsch, or another normal soup gone cold.  But what about soups meant to be cold, whether gazpacho, or fruit soup?

“Fruit soup?” he dismisses again.  “If you want fruit and cream, that’s called dessert in my part of the world, why pretend that it’s soup?”

Obviously, the man was scarred for life by nightmares of cold soup, or by a mother that was perhaps meticulous in her insistence that the family eat while the soup was still hot – hot – hot.  I’m not sure, but feel that we should get to the bottom of this.

“Did you EVER like cold soup?” I try.

“No, never, I always thought someone needed to heat it up,” he says matter-of-factly.  “Remember when we visited a certain museum’s garden café and they brought us cold borsch?  It wasn’t even a warm day?  Maybe they didn’t feel like heating it up?  It never said ‘chilled’ on the menu.”

He’s right.  We were surprised by that little twist of events.

A few times, I did attempt okroshka, the cold Russian soup with diced raw veggies and mixed with kvass (slightly fermented rye bread drink), for which I substituted buttermilk and mineral water.  Tossing in cucumbers, spring onions, radishes, hard boiled eggs and ground beef, it’s a great way to deal with leftovers.  Let’s just say my Russian father seemed to enjoy it, kind soul that he is.  Maybe I’ll try it again….  Don’t forget the dollop of smetana (sour cream) on top.  It’s an acquired taste, meant for adventuresome foodies.

I can attest to the fact that Benedetto’s never enjoyed cold food, unless it’s meant to be cold.  When we were first married, I recall whipping up the traditional leek-and-potato vichyssoise and both of us coming to the conclusion that the creamy soup tasted much better heated up.

C’est la vie.  I recently read a recipe for chilled avocado soup which sounded delightful. Maybe I can tweak it and make it into a dip, instead.  Benedetto will never know:  he’s really eating chilled soup!

Do you like your soup hot or cold?



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