Comfort and Community Behind the Soup Bowl: A Playlist

By: Rana Roudi

There is nothing better than cozying up on the couch and enjoying a bowl of warm soup during the cold winter months. But what makes the bowl of soup so comforting? And how has soup become a staple of comfort in different cultures? Our soup playlist explores soup in all its cozy mediums, from Xiao Long Bao to chicken noodle soup to brothless ramen.

We hear from leaders of communities and soup kitchens as they share how soup is a powerful tool in feeding large groups and uniting people over a shared meal. Take a listen to learn more about the unique ways chefs are cooking with soup and how soup has played a foundational role in communities.

The Line Episode 77: Yuji Haraguchi: Yuji Haraguchi talks about how he took his pop-up focusing on mazemen (brothless ramen) and turned it into a multi-location business operating in New York and Tokyo. After graduating college, Yuji began to work for a fish distributor based in Boston and decided to start cooking his own ramen and mazemen recipes. What began as a pop-up led to family meal tastings at Roberta's, Smorgasborg, a Whole Foods residency and finally his own shop in East Williamsburg. Yuji now has ramen shops and fish markets in both Brooklyn and Manhattan and owns and operates a restaurant in Tokyo and a shop in Kyoto.

Feast Meets West Episode 53: Pinch Chinese + Xiao Long Bao: You're listening to the last episode of the season! And that coincides with a conversation about one of our favorite foods of all time - the famous xiao long bao (XLB), aka soup dumplings. We're chatting with Sean Tang, managing partner for Pinch Chinese, which recently got named the best soup dumpling in New York Magazine’s roundup of best new things to eat in NYC. 

Queer the Table Episode 9: Spaces for Joy: During big (an often fraught) holidays, we're feeling grateful for spaces where we can gather around a table with queer chosen family. We travel through space and time to two such spaces: the storied "lesbian potluck," and its more modern, Brooklynite rendition: Queer Soup Night. 

Cooking in Mexican from A to Z Episode 27: Sopa, Caldo, and Crema: Zarela & Aarón are thrilled to welcome James Oseland. James recently released his book World Food: Mexico City: Heritage Recipes for Classic Home Cooking, which Zarela & Aarón absolutely love. While these three could talk about any aspect of Mexican cooking, for today's episode they've decided to focus on Soups. They set the stage by discussing the importance of soup in the average Mexican diet and outlining the difference between caldos and sopas. Then they each share their favorite soups and, especially, soup toppings! 

Feast Yr Ears Episode 189: Chicken Soup Now and forever: Jenn Louis' new book The Chicken Soup Manifesto takes on the most comforting of comfort food. There exists a Chicken Soup recipe from anywhere that chickens are raised, and it represents nourishment, home cooking, and an accessible and affordable way to make a great meal. From Matzo ball to Kanjee (Sri Lanka) the book covers a lot of ground. Tune in to hear more about the book and Jenn's work on this and her previous books, Pasta by Hand and The Book of Greens

A Taste of the Past Episode 351: History of Soup Kitchens: Since ancient times societies have helped the hungry--those who had no access to food. Today we have food pantries, food banks, and soup kitchens. Linda talks to Stephen Henderson who has volunteered in soup kitchens around the world for the past ten years about the history of this system of feeding those in need. 

Feast Yr Ears Episode 178: The 24-hour soup kitchen. Now more than ever.: Stephen Henderson is a journalist. While on assignment covering fashion in Delhi India he visited a Sikh soup kitchen where they serve 20,000 people a day. This led to his new book The 24 Hour Soup Kitchen, exploring how people feed the hungry all over the world. Now more than ever we need to help feed people who are hungry. As the world economy teeters on the brink of disaster we can learn a lot from this book. 

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