My sister told me that despite her repeated requests for a colored television, my parents refused to buy one until I (the baby in the family) wanted one, and then one was bought right away. That television changed our lives in many ways. Ed Sullivan, The Micky Mouse Club, and Captain Kangaroo became weekly guests in our home. We were just as attentive during the commercial breaks and the ads were so convincing, that even a child as young as I was then, I advocated for whatever they happened to be selling. I am ashamed to admit that I begged my mother to buy Chef Boyardee products, T.V. Dinners, and Campbell Soups. I couldn’t understand why she insisted on spending her time carefully dicing and chopping vegetables when I was sure that her homemade soups could not possibly compare to the gelatinous, cylindrical mass of soup that came out of a can. My mother kept preparing her wonderful chicken soup, made with chicken feet that we loved to chew on, vegetable soups cooked with delicious marrow bones which could only be scooped out with the smallest of spoons, white bean soups that were hearty and peppery, and a “milchig” tomato soup, the one soup I wouldn’t eat. I can’t tell you why. Maybe it was because my mother told me that she never ate tomatoes when she was a child. Maybe it was the tartness of the tomatoes, or the acidity of the soup. I have no memory of what that particular soup tasted like, and sadly I have no idea how she prepared it.
What I do know is that my mother refused to listen to those ad campaigns and successfully ignored my nagging. She continued making homemade soups her entire life. Without any lecturing, in her own gentle way, and by example, she taught me a valuable lesson about life and soup, that fast is not always better and that tomato soup is delicious after all.
Tomato Soup adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten
I-28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 large red onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
2 Tb tomato paste
3 Tb olive oil
4 cups pareve chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole milk
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add chopped onions and carrots, and sauté for about 20 minutes. Add garlic, can of tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, stir, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Puree, stir in milk, and adjust seasoning. Garnish with diced avocado and tortilla chips. Serves 4-6