Earlier this year, a couple of friends and I gathered to make soup. Not just any soup, but “smoking soup”.
You see, while my friends are varied and many, these two friends are a chef and a food writer. This soup was an early summer version of a dish my friend Becky Selengut collaborated on for an underground dinner. The theme for the dinner was, “Autumn Smoke”, each course featuring an element of this late season quality. The soup was rich creamy parsnip served with apple butter and crisp parsnip ribbons. The “smoke” in this dish was really a fog, rolling from under the soup itself, and carrying with it the aroma of cinnamon.
The soup bowl was set inside a larger bowl that was partially filled with a warm cinnamon “tea”, and just before serving, dry ice was dropped in. The steam, or fog, caused by the ultra cold frozen carbon dioxide boiling rapidly in the warm cinnamon tea enveloped you with the spicy scent while you ate the soup. A dramatic presentation with a functional role that impressed a friend dining with us, Matthew.
Matthew, a food writer, was so impressed not only with the dish, but with the complete accessibility of the reactionary ingredient. Dry ice is available readily at any grocery store fish counter, for a minimal cost.
The article here, Aroma Therapy, hit the stands this past Sunday, prompting me to share my own side of the creative process.
It was a day like most spent with friends. I was detained by Matthew’s darling daughter Iris, who introduced me to all her toy figures, many of whom live aboard a pirate ship. I spent time catching up with Laurie, Matthew’s wife. I joked with Becky, who’s pace quickens in the kitchen, along with her wit. And we sat at the table together, sharing the same meal, and chatting until we had polished off the block of cheese bought for the garnish.
The article features a spring adapted recipe including peas and panchetta, and envelopes you in the fresh aroma of mint. I urge everyone to use this impressive technique, and be creative. The liquid underneath can carry any water soluble aroma, corresponding with the soup, which can be chilled or hot.