Wesleyan seems to have a case of the sniffles. The other day, someone in our house suggested a communal soup-cooking session to combat the draining effects of the recent outbreak of “backtoschoolitis.” Our recipe-dotted Facebook group page was immediately assailed by fellow Full House residents volunteering everything from onions and vegetable stock to soup pans. At the end of the day, we had produced a fantastic carrot ginger soup, a classic hearty vegetable soup, chicken wonton soup, and beef pho. Due to the general warm fuzzies we got from these body-lovin’ broths, we decided to dedicate this week’s column to the culinary science of soup making, tea brewing, and maintaining mind-body health in times of fluctuations.
Three out of four of these recipes started with olive oil and a few cloves of fresh garlic over medium heat in a large frying pan. Samantha Sikder, creator of the carrot-ginger masterpiece, used an immersion blender to finely integrate the carrot and ginger, and added vegetable stock to form the base of her soup. Although this approach will produce an extremely smooth soup, cooking finely chopped vegetables for a long time over medium heat will substitute fine in place of a blender.
Also bubbling on the stove top was a family-favorite vegetable soup, formed with a tomato base and featuring corn, onions, green beans, cauliflower, and eggplant, many of which were simply canned goods purchased from Weshop. For the carnivores, Leonid Liu crafted a beef pho that made another housemate exclaim aloud that it was “way better than the pho on Main Street!” The final soup, which Ellie described as “divine,” was the chicken wonton soup; based in a light chicken broth, the savory dumplings contained a mix of pork, spices, and light vegetables that were enchanting.
In addition to the smell of simmering onions, garlic, and ginger, the air was filled with the aroma of chai, chamomile, and mint tea. Not only is tea full of antioxidants and anticarcinogens, but it can lower your stress hormones and serve as the perfect steam bath for anyone suffering from cold or allergy symptoms. Most forms of chai have enough caffeine to give you a little bump if needed, while mint and chamomile can be brewed together to remedy any sort of stomach or digestive discomforts.
Instead of downing a Red Bull to prolong a manic high or sleeping for absurd hours at a time, invest in one of the most basic acts of personhood: eating. We strongly believe that eating food that makes your body adore you and boosts your immune system will help you along the path towards awareness and mental well-being. While both Ellie and I realize that soup and tea cannot cure all of life’s ills, it can’t hurt to try. We wish all the peace and good feelings these foods inspired in us onto you, our lovely (and hopefully hungry!) readers.
Bear hugs and carrots to all,
Ellie and Rachel