Sunday, August 27, 2006

Soup Tricks

I found an interesting search query in my stats the other day. The entire search term was, and I quote, "how to serve 2 different soups in the same bowl keeping them seperated".

This is actually not a difficult thing to do, but it does take a little bit of know-how and a little bit of practice. First of all, you need two soups. In fact, you need two soups with some body to them. For simplicity and the purpose of this demonstration, I used two soups by Alton Brown: Leek Potato Soup and Squash Soup. I chose these two soups because they were different (contrasting) colors, they both seemed autumny, and I hoped the flavors wouldn't clash. Unfortunately, they did. But more on that later. I also hoped that they would have about the same amount of body, since they were both pureed soups.

Once you have your soups made, go ahead and put each one in a pouring vessels, such as measuring cups. I realized before they were finished cooking that they did in fact have different viscosities. The Squash Soup was significantly thicker than the Leek Potato Soup. I remedied this a little by adding a little more cream and stock to the Squash Soup. If I had had some potato flakes on hand, I could have added some to the Leek Potato Soup to thicken it a bit. No, I don't have a problem using potato flakes, since they tend to be made from real potatoes anyway.

Now, the secret is to be able to pour the same amount of each soup at the same speed at the same time. If both soups are the same thickness, it shouldn't be that difficult. Just go as slowly as you need to.

Now, my soups were still not the same thickness, but they were kind of close, so I went with it. You can see how the potato leek soup on the left is still a little thin, so it's trying to make its way over to the other side. This is why you want your soups to be as close in thickness as possible. You can also see that the colors contrast each other enough that you can actually tell than you have two different soups. After all, if you can't tell that they're different, what's the point of doing this in the first place? I also made sure to use a bowl that contrasted the colors of the soup. And yes, as you can see, I used a real soup bowl. It has quite a bit of an edge, which looks nice with the soup.

Now, you could even take this a step further and do a little design work on the top of the soup. You need a little bit of liquid that has a contrasting color, and again, is still the same thickness as the soup. I used heavy cream. It didn't end up being heavy enough. You will also need a squeeze bottle, such as one might use for ketchup or mustard. Now, keep your design simple, like a monogram or something. Cursive works well. I attempted an "H", for "Hall", which didn't go over well with the cream.

I ended up just dripping cream into a fancy H shape, at least as well as I could manage. But the drips gave me an idea. I decided to do a series of dots around the side of the soup, just a couple of drips for each dot. Then I dragged a toothpick through the center of each dot, in a circle around the bowl. In a perfect world, this creates a series of hearts around the bowl.

In my world, I almost had hearts going around the side of the bowl. Okay, so my soup ended up a bit sloppy-looking. Still, it was tasty, so long as I only ate one side at once. And as it turns out, I think my mistakes might really have added to this little post; now we can all learn from them.


  1. What a great idea! Thanks! Which soups would taste good together?

  2. You know, I never did tackle that one. Purees, obviously. Maybe a sweet potato pureed soup, and of course the squash soup above. Those are both sweet. Or if you wanted to go savory, maybe the potato leek soup with... maybe some kind of tomato basil soup? I'm just tossing out ideas here. It's really up to you what you want to do.


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