Clam chowder is one of those subjects, like politics or religion, that can never be discussed lightly. Bring it up even incidentally, and all the innumerable factions of the clam bake regions raise their heads and begin to yammer.
One whiff of a savory aromatic soup and appetites come to attention. The steaming fragrance of a tempting soup is a prelude to the goodness to come. An inspired soup puts family and guests in a receptive mood for enjoying the rest of the menu.
Soup is the song of the hearth... and the home.
From time immemorial, soups and broths have been the worldwide medium for utilizing what we call the kitchen byproducts or as the French call them, the 'dessertes de la table' (leftovers), or 'les parties interieures de la bete', such as head, tail, lights, liver, knuckles and feet.
Soup is cuisine's kindest course. It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o'clock cup of tea or the cocktail hour.
Soups challenge us, because an enticing flavorful stew can be as different from the thin watery beverage sometimes erroneously called soup as a genuine green turtle is from the mock turtle.
Soup is to the meal, what the hostesses smile of welcome is to the party. A prelude to the goodness to come.
Like the whale who swallowed Jonah, we have engulfed all national dishes known to civilized man and made them in delight, if not in name our own.
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