Good Soup: A Meal’s Redemption

Jamie Burton, Opinion Writer

The light sobbing continued on for most of the night. At last, from deep within the confines of the Panera Bread kitchen, there came a final exhale, a hopeless plea of frustration and regret. There lay the day-old half-pint of Tomato Basil soup on the desolate counter, who, like so many of its compatriots, had become just another fallen soldier in a dying genre of cuisine. In today’s culinary age, the modern-day soup has indeed taken a back seat in the dining experience, but this was not always the case. In fact, the key to the modern soup’s revival may be digging deeper into the dish’s true purpose.

Soups have been a worldwide cuisine standard for centuries, being simple enough for the poor and sophisticated enough for the wealthy at the same time. Over time however, public support for soup has diminished remarkably. So how did this happen? How did this beloved dish become so coldly forgotten?

Simply put, soup has never experienced much modernization. It was always a traditional classic in a world of change, something reliably consistent. However, soup’s reluctance to evolve over the years has had a negative effect, as it has submerged the dish to unforeseen lows.

The problem is that the modern soup, as we know it today, is unproductive. It has become a hassle, a culi- nary chore that yields little reward compared to other more efficient dishes. As a result, the modern soup loses support, and in turn innovation, as the unforgiving cycle of fading into the culinary background continues.

However, the modern soup need not be without hope. In order to save itself, the modern soup must turn its focus inward to who is at its watery core. The ugly truth is that the modern soup can never be successful when expected to be the main course. It is at its best as an appetizer only, an inviting opener to a more substantial meal. There would be no more pressure to sacrifice nutrition for taste; emphasis would be finally placed on experience above all else. Free from societal constraints, the modern soup will have room to blossom with bold- ness and creativity once more.

Yet still, some ask, why even bother? Why adopt such a risk for so little reward? Think back to the day- old half-pint of Tomato Basil soup. Haven’t we all felt hopeless at one point or another, yearning for direction in a purposeless world? Saving the modern soup would be in turn saving a part of each other as well. It would show us that even when life grows stale, innovation can still prevail. That we can bring taste back into our lives by knowing where we truly belong. In this sense of belonging and purpose, we will all discover what gives us flavor at long last.