Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thoughts on the 52 Soup Project from the halfway point

In all honesty, in most aspects of my life, this year has been flying by. How on Earth is it already July? We're full swing into Summer, it's hot, and we're already talking about our 1 year anniversary.  But then when I think about soup, and all the soups that we've made, and all the planning, the chopping, the cooking, the tasting, the writing, and the doing it all over again...and then think that we're at the half way point now... I feel like I've been making soup forever. 

summer squash

And I don't mean that in a bad way. When I started working on this idea, I had seen other bloggers challenge themselves to different projects, and I was particularly drawn to a kitchen project because, as a new wife, I was sort of flipping out about the whole cooking meals thing. Seriously, I've cooked before, but it was usually with my mom, and she was standing there telling me exactly what to do. And E is an incredible cook, so I felt that I was really going to have to step it up in the kitchen to be able to cook dinners and plan parties and do all the things I wanted to do in my brand new kitchen, but just didn't really know how.  

butternut squash

The whole point of this project was to get me into the kitchen and start feeling comfortable with chopping veggies, cooking meats, adding spiced, and knowing when something is ready or when it needs a few more minutes. Why then, you might ask, didn't you just try to make some interesting dinners? Why soup?  Because of the challenge. E and I love soups. It gets me to stick to something. With all the magazines and all the blogs and all the cookbooks I go through, I think to just pick out a dinner recipe would be super overwhelming. How would you pick? Sure, there are thousands of soup recipes out there too, but you also have to work with what you have in fridge and the pantry, what you feel like eating, and our different taste buds (like when we made the Sweet and Sour Cherry Soup this last week...).

mashed cherries

So we've made 27 different soups. The project is tipped in the other direction, and we're heading into the second half of the year. Already I can tell how much my cooking abilities have changed. I feel so much more adventurous in the kitchen. I mean, we've made Gumbo, and Borscht, and some really far out flavorful soups like Chocolate Chicken Chili. We've made the American classic, Chicken Noodle Soup, and the traditional Armenian Tahn Abour (yogurt soup). We've followed recipes strictly, and then some we totally made up (like our Carrot and Ginger Bisque). We even (sort of) invented the dessert soup (Strawberry Compote).  And with all of that we've never come up with something that was just not good.


Sometimes this project is overwhelming. I mean 52 is more soup than some people eat in a lifetime... and we're doing it all in one year. One a week... and sometimes more when we get behind, which unfortunately is more often than not. But looking back on it all, looking at the Pinterest board of soups and seeing how many different flavors we've tried and how many different ingredients we've cooked up, makes the next 25 weeks seem more exciting than daunting. It sort of renews my excitement for it all. This whole project has really been a fun outlet for E and I too, making us truly realize our passion for cooking and for sharing our recipes with you (whoever you are out there!). 

chopped veggies

So here's to the second half of this challenge. I hope you stick along for the ride, or if you're just finding us for the first time, I hope you stay tuned for more. And if you end up trying out one of our recipes, or have a suggestion to make it better, or you want to share a recipe for us to try- leave a comment and let us know what you think - we're listening!

I'm off to search for this week's soup idea. In the mean time, happy Sunday, and Bon Appetit!