December 7, 2008

Tomato Soup

I've talked often about "memory food". When I start cooking, my thoughts drift to the place I called home for two decades. All of Amma's vessels were part of the RevereWare collection. On a wintry night (like the ones we have every day this time of the year), I cannot help but think of Amma's large copper bottomed RevereWare Dutch Oven filled with her signature tomato soup simmering away. We'd lay the table with cups for Appa and Amma. H and I got large opalware bowls. Amma would make croutons, the fried way of course. (And she would ration them out to us.) Then she'd bring the hot pot of soup to the table. During the rains, all we ever wanted was a bowl of soup with a small blob of home made butter and loads of croutons. And then the race to see who'd get to seconds fastest. Somehow, even today, it seems like the most comforting dish in the whole world.

My picture does the soup no justice whatsoever. I still think the fried croutons and the butter give the soup part of its character, I must admit that the soup does have its own stand out on its own. Is it the soup? Is it the memory? I haven't the faintest which it is. But it doesn't matter really, does it?

1/2 kg Tomatoes, diced

2 small Carrots, peeled and diced

1 Onion, diced

2 pods Garlic

1/4 Milk, optional

1 Potato, peeled and diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pressure cook the vegetables and the garlic with 4 cups of water. When cool, blend in a liquidizer and strain. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add the milk, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with croutons.

To me, this is a complete meal. Others, S included, beg to differ. Maybe it is the memories that make this simple soup such a family legacy. And on this day, I am happy to have those memories. Memories of our dining table, of our home, of our family spending time with each other over dinner, of Amma dishing out one delicacy after another, before and after work, and making it seem like no work at all. To the lady who taught me so much of what I know today, about just about everything; the lady who is a phone call away when I am faced with a problem at work, an issue with my in-laws, or a major task in the kitchen; the one I have come to consider one of the best cooks there is or ever was; the one about whom Appa says, "There's some magic in her hands for sure"; to the one who is my friend first and then my mother: Happy Birthday Amma!


Divya Kudua said...

Lovely post Raaga..Tomato soup does real wonders..;-)and yeah,Happy Birthday to your Amma..loved reading about her!!

Lavanya said...


That was really a nice way to wish a Happy Birthday! I am not much of a soup person myself. But I am tempted to make this too. B'day wishes to aunty.

Sig said...

aaaaaawwwwwww... what a lovely post... Wish your Amma a very happy birthday from me too..

Anonymous said...

You are so right about how memories can be tied to food, and the smells associated with them. When I was reading this post I kept going back in my memory to when I was a kid playing hockey in the now out in the backyard.
Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Wish THE SUPER LADY,a very happy Birthday on my behalf
I guess each daughter will echo ur thoughts,memories and affection towards mother dear,and i m no different
Soup is awesome,perfect to keep cold at bay !

lubnakarim06 said...

Belated and warm birthday wishes to your mom. Soup looks comforting.

Priya Suresh said...

Belated Birthday wishes to your mom...SOup looks yummy...btw, did u got my entry for thinkspice??..

CurryLeaf said...

Lovely soup.It is the memories associated that makes the dish more appealing.Belated B'Day wishes to your mother.

Namratha said...

Nothing beats home made tomato soup! Perfect for this cold winter.