Way Better Than Top Ramen

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Ludwig van Beethoven is rumored to have proclaimed, "Only the pure of heart can make a great soup." The saying is true-hastiness, anger and tepidness can ruin the best of efforts. The process itself is simple and beautiful, but if rushed it can easily fall apart. The following instructions may appear simple at first glance, but you can make them as complex as you desire.

First, make sure you have some time on your hands. It is definitely safe to catch up on that Sociology reading when your broth is simmering, but you might not want to run errands. Get a big pot. Next, put some butter, olive oil or the fat of your choice in the bottom. We love olive oil and butter together. Next, you could add some garlic, bacon, onions, pancetta, leeks-any combination thereof, or anything else of your choice. Garlic is always a good call.

When your kitchen begins to smell fantastic, the time is right to add some broth and let it simmer. Alternatively, you could add tomatoes or butternut squash while, of course, adding water if necessary.

Here is the crucial step: Your soup must simmer for a good deal of time so the flavors can get to know each other. Pay attention to your pot, but give it some space-standing over it is not such a great idea. When you feel like the soup is about done, you could puree it in your blender (blenders are not just for margaritas) or leave it as is. Enjoy your soup with some warm bread!

Start your soup-making adventures with gusto and try some of your own genius ideas. Some favorites are butternut squash with garlic and onions, and pea soup with pancetta. We once made the best chicken stock ever with the leftover bones of a rotisserie chicken and hot sauce, so nothing is off limits. If you fail, check out the new soup place on Bancroft-we did.

SAN FRANCISCO SOUP COMPANY

We grew curious over the past week about the dozens of students carrying 12-ounce soup cups across campus. As most of you probably know, San Francisco Soup Company opened a new store on Bancroft. After waiting to buy Dalai Lama tickets for hours in the cold, trying out this new hot spot seemed like the perfect idea.

We were struck by the store's interior, which looked quite similar to the Cal Dining Commons. Bright colors adorned the walls and LED screens displaying the menu flashed overhead. Beside each item, various letters (V for Vegan, etc.) informed the diet-conscious consumer about his or her soup choice. For those of us who are lactose intolerant or have certain allergies, such information can be very helpful; however, much of the store's attention seemed to be caught up in healthy-organic dogma. We love sustainable, ecologically friendly eating, but does it always have to be so conspicuous, written in bright orange on an LED screen? Honestly, we found these characteristics a bit off-putting. Hoping the new eatery wasn't simply the next victim of dining's latest fad, we approached the counter.

And what we received there was fantastic. A chatty, amiable server asked if we would like to try anything, and after four samples (all delicious), we settled on chicken tortilla. Each patron is allowed one "hunk" (we LOVE that they call it that) of sourdough bread with their steamy soup, and we enjoyed ours thoroughly. Our order came with purple tortilla chips and a bunch of cheese; creamy and thick, it warms even the coldest of hands.

San Francisco Soup Company may be just the place to try for your next lunch date. But don't go for the image. It's easy to get caught up in all the heart-healthy symbols next to the black bean chili or clam chowder, but just twelve ounces of their mac 'n' cheese provides 654 of your daily allotted calories. Sometimes you just have to throw calorie counting out the window and enjoy what you ordered. At San Francisco Soup Company, your soup is guaranteed to taste delicious, which is what they should be proudly displaying.

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Ask for four samples of soup with Graham and Maria at [email protected]



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