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Excuse Me Waiter, My Soup is Cold!

The year was 1917 and Louis Diat, (1885 - 1957), was the head chef of the posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Madison Ave in New York City. The Ritz-Carlton was about to open a new restaurant and a party to celebrate the historic event was being thrown.


In Diat's repertoire was a potato and leek soup, one of his mother's recipes, which he planned to serve at the party. There exists some controversy about whether it was his actual intention to serve the soup cold, but it was, and a classic was born. He named the soup vichyssoise (vihsh-ee-SWAHZ), after the town in France that he hailed from.

Many of my friends and family, unaware of vichyssoise, and rigidly locked into a uni-temperature concept of soup, cringe when I explain that it is served cold. We are such creatures of habit.

How sad that many individual's capacity for pleasure has been relegated to the narrow confines of the familiar. More than one has taken the soup, tasted it, made a face, heated it up, and then enjoyed it.

I cannot help but wonder how much their psyche, and not their taste buds, was controlling their reaction.


Cold soups make for excellent summer fare. The best vichyssoise I ever had in my life was at a French restaurant during a Montreal summer. Humor me. Try the soup in the traditional manner but then, if you must heat it up, (sigh), go ahead.

VICHYSSOISE(recipe below)

If you're watching your calories and/or fat content you should avoid this soup altogether. Eliminate the half and half and cream and simply make a hot potato-leek soup. It is still delicious.

If you wish to be semi-decadent, keep the cream and substitute water or vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Or reduce the half and half and cream and use more broth. However, the soup will not be as rich and smooth. Your choice.

COLD APPLE SOUP(recipe below)


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