Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

  My Wife and Times

Daniel Will Harris

The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. —Ed].


Nuts to Soup!

Dinner requires a fork

—Daniel Will Harris

I don't consider soup a meal. I know it can be and people can live on it if necessary but to me it's something you slurp when you're cold to stop your stomach from making embarrassing noises before the real food arrives.

Soup can be quite delicious (my friend, Chef Daniel DeLong of Manka's Inverness Lodge, makes what I consider to be the most delicious soup on the planet), but that still doesn't make it a meal. Chocolate is also delicious but it, too, is also not officially recognized as a meal (though I personally can be satisfied with a nice bar of dark chocolate).

Yes, there are some soups which are, in fact, really chili or stews and they can pass as a meal. They have less water and more rice or barley or meat or chewable lumps of things. I'm from the old school where if your spoon stands up in it, then it starts to enter meal territory. If there's just a lot of water, no matter how flavorful, it's merely a precursor to a meal. And if it's a consommé (pronounced "con-sue-may" - a see-through broth containing nothing edible except for the liquid--it's really more of a hot salty drink in a bowl), well, forget it.

A consommé aside: the only time I've been served something actually called "consommé" was at a dinner party in a fancy condo overlooking the Bay. A ruby red consommé arrived, looking kind of like melted cranberry sauce, and tasting remarkably like the ocean, which is fine for a lick or two, after which it could double as the kind of laxative they give you before a colonoscopy. No one could eat it and there were no potted plants to inflict it on. So we took turns, distracting the hostess, while we'd sneak into the bathroom carrying our consommé cups and flush away the colorful evidence.

Back to soup--I have had entire meals consisting only of soup and bread, but I chalk that up to the fact that I could have entire meals consisting of just bread. If the bread is good enough, like fresh warm sourdough, it doesn't need anything, though a little butter never hurts, and certainly never hurt James Beard who ate his bread fresh from the oven and, in his own words, "slathered" with butter. And he lived to a ripe old age. So man can live by bread alone, if the bread is good enough, and if by "alone" you mean it includes butter or peanut butter or a piece of cheese.

But I digress; this man cannot live by soup alone. My wife is currently trying to prove me wrong. She found a particular brand of soup she is obsessed with. She doesn't call it obsessed, she says she's "Jonesing" for this soup. I think it's verging on an addiction.

I have to admit the soup is good. It's from that famous chef with his Austrian accent who always does the Oscar parties. His first name comes from Mozart and his last from A Midsummer's Night's Dream. Your challenge for the day--figure it out.

My wife's favorite is a tomato (or to-mah-to) soup with some green stuff floating around. I'm not sure what that is, basil maybe. Green stuff floating around is usually a red light for me, but this is very tasty. WITH A SANDWICH, preferably grilled cheese.

But no, for her, it's a bowl of soup. Maybe accompanied by a piece of mozzarella (which, of course, is food). Still, this is not a meal in my book and I refuse to accept it as such. And yet--it is dinner. Take it or eat cottage cheese.

She gets this way. Once when we visited Los Angeles for a week, she bought what seemed like a side of corned beef and a rye bread the size of a four year old child. I'm the first to admit that this particular deli is special, and the first night the sandwiches were transcendent. The next day, at lunch, they were very good. By dinner that same day they were good. The next day, as this cycle repeated, they were only tolerable by basically turning them into Swiss cheese sandwiches with the corned beef waved over them, like vermouth in a dry martini. And yet she was happy, eating the same sandwich, day in, day out, for almost a week, by the end of which I was trying to find someway to go off by myself and have, I don't know, anything, a burrito, a salad even.

But now it's soup. After a few days of this I moved on and made my own meals, which, when I'm desperate and hungry may be some hummus and pita (mmm, for a few days), then perhaps a chicken breast thrust under the broiler until it looks like the remains of a wildfire, or even some leftover burrito from my favorite place called Mi Pueblo which makes them so large I can make three meals of one.

But now I was out of food and out of ideas. She recommended soup! "There's that chicken enchilada soup you always love," she said, between slurps. I do like this soup, which doesn't really taste like an enchilada but does kind of taste like chickeny-sour-cream and spices--what's not to like there? But I traditionally eat it with something--a quesadilla, tortilla chips, saltines, a brisket, something. Tonight it was just soup (and a wedge of cheese, just for something to chew).

That was about a half hour ago and I'm hungry again. It's not my imagination, my stomach is making noises, and they're not happy, contented noises, they're "what was with that soup?" noises.

So later I'll have some cottage cheese. And look forward to tomorrow when we're going out and will have to eat at a restaurant where you can bet your bottom dollar I won't be ordering soup.


My Wife and Times Cover
If you would like to read more fabulous stories, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at or on





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