The Soup lady likes nothing more than to hear about soup that makes an impression on others. Here is a letter from reader Howard Summers who reminisces about two soups for hard times: Catsup Soup and Stone Soup.
You have a nice site and some good soups. Your complaints about Hickory Sup might be overdrawn so here is a real and necessary all-too-often soup that is a version of Tomato Soup. It is documented in the memoirs of Sid Ceaser, the early TV commedian. I have tried it and it tastes terrible but it is filling and demonstrates that Reagan was right, tomatoes are a vegetable.
There once was a chain of eateries in NYC called the Automat because they hd little staff, serving the food through little windowed boxes when the proper amount of coins were inserted. As an example, you could buy tea by finding a window with a tea bag and depositing a nickle. Open the the window, grab your tea and return to a counter where a pot of hot water, cups and ondiments were available and make your tea.
Many aspiring actors in the fifties (including myself) did not have many nickles at all. If you were hungry you could go to an automat, grab a cup, fill it a quarter full of Catsup, fill with hot water and stir. You have soup!
I also learned of Stone Soup at that time. It may be a myth but the story went that hoboes would go to a home and ask the wife for something to eat. If they were turned down they asked if they could have hot water to make Stone Sup. The housewife would be intrigued to learn how soup could be made with a stone and ask for a demonstration. As the water simmered with the stone in a pot the hobo would ask the woman if she had some spices to add flavor. Soon he was looking in the refrigerator and found some leftover meat, carrots etc. h would add to the soup to add flavor.
Eating the soup himself he would take the stone and leave the housewife with the rest of the pot to tell her unbelieving family at dinner about how the soup was made from a stone.
Twenty years ago my company laid off nearly all their Marketing Department so a great party was held for them all. Dress was to be poverty. I took a company shipping tag, labeled it "Soup Stone" and tied it to a rock from my garden to take to the party as my contribution to the pot luck dinner. I still have it and it still makes good soup.
The Soup Lady has a taste preference for anything with vinegar in it and as you know, vinegar is the secret ingredient in catsup so this first soup might just be right up my alley. My beloved family recipe for cabbage soup uses catsup as the base for the broth and there is no more pleasing taste to me in the world, but, as Howard advises, me: "Don't expect the vinegar to carry it." He would know.
Hustle on over to eBay and put in a bid on some green stripe restaurant bowls to create the amosphere necessary for serving these soups.
Hmmm .... eBay. I wonder if they have those star bowls listed there?