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Feature Fri Aug 14 2009
Fall is, hands down, my favorite season. I love everything about it - the colors, apple cider, crisp air, the sounds of leaves crunching, and soup. During the hotter months (as rare as they've been lately) I really miss having a big bowl of hot soup with a piece of fresh-baked bread, and I always promise myself that I will celebrate the first cool day with just that. Well, this summer I started to think that maybe I don't have to wait until the temperature drops below 60 before indulging in a bowl of soup. My family makes a great chilled soup during Christmas that we call fruit soup (check out this post to learn about the history and get the recipe) and last weekend I decided to throw a batch together.
This was my first time ever making the soup and since my friends will eat pretty much anything, I invited them over for dinner. When I brought the soup out, there were a lot of questions (shouldn't this be dessert?) and I could see the skepticism on everyone's face. Some people were wary of the tapioca, some weren't sure about putting cream in the soup and some just weren't convinced that a cold soup would taste good. I was more than happy to prove them wrong and turn them into fans of chilled soup.
Unlike hot soups, chilled soups are light (usually) and really refreshing - perfect for really hot days when your appetite decreases. My success with the fruit soup last weekend has inspired me to try making a few others while this hot weather sticks around. On the top of my list: gazpacho (this watermelon version looks pretty great), cucumber soup and honeydew-mint soup.
The great thing about making some of these soups is that almost all of the ingredients can be bought at one of Chicago's many farmers markets. I'm excited to experiment with different soups, depending on what produce is in season.
If anything, making a summer soup gives you a good reason to get to your local farmers market, take a break from the heat and have some friends over. If you have any favorite chilled soup recipes, I'd love to see them.