Tomato Bliss

by - May 19, 2010

I am a lover of soup.  Not soup from a can.  Not any minimal effort, just add water, "I've given up on life" affair.  My little pantry may be stalked with cans of mushroom and tomato and vegetable with the little alphabet noodles and the carrots that squish like a sponge but that doesn't mean I like it - I'm just ready to survive on Campbells if another tornado slams off our power.

There are two kinds of soup:

  1. This is what was set before me by my childhood babysitter in her sagging house that smelled of cats: either tomato with a skin (eat your heart out George Costanza) or mushroom with unstirred chunks that tasted a little like the phlegm in the back of my throat when I was sick. With enough saltines a child can choke down just about anything but come on Mrs. Newell, there's a right way and a wrong way.  
  2. This is what my mother serves for a Sunday lunch or holiday brunch or brings by my house when I'm sick with some mushroom soupy phlegm plague that has me bedridden and wanting to be taken care of.
My mother makes amazing soup.  I do not.  Hers are thick and hearty.  Mine are not.  Hers make things like chickpeas and zucchini taste good.  Mine do not.   I really, really, really want to make soup like my mom.  I can't figure out what I'm missing.  Is it my pot?  Is it a special flick of the wrist or dice of the knife?  Broth soups.  Noodle soups.  Vegetable soups.  Nope.  Can't do it.

My mother has blessed me with the gift of an idiot-proof recipe for Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup.  Out of the hundreds of soup recipes it is the one that I can follow and produce something that feels like home.  It is my fail-safe.  It's thick and chunky.  Pretty, even.

For all you soup-dumb soup lovers out there, I give you - drum roll, if you please -  my mother's tomato soup:

from the kitchen of: MOM

1 tsp chopped onion (I use more than that - like 1/4 c)
2 tbsp butter (never said it was calorie-wise)
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c canned tomato
2 c cold whole milk

Saute onion in butter until transparent.
Stir in dry ingredients.
Cook until smooth and bubbly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and boil 1 minute.
Add cold milk.
Heat rapidly, stirring constantly - do not boil.
Serves 3-4

It's even written in her hand on a cute little card with pictures of herbs along the bottom.

Link to this pageI eat it with garlic croutons and parmesan cheese and a big spoon.  It's good every time.

I may not have the artistic touch that makes chickpeas and zucchini taste like a little piece of heaven but I have this and that's enough.

Besides, my mom lives like 5 minutes from me and she always has enough to share.

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  1. Well, I don't like most soup and I don't like cooked tomatoes, nevertheless, you've managed to make it look and sound delicious.


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