categorically speaking

Categorically Speaking


category + garnish + seasoning = soup

Us home cooks, we have our sources. You know, that place or person you go to when you need the ultimate cookie recipe or another {ingenious} way to use ground beef or maybe you just want to dream about eating something yummy. We can count on them to come to the rescue in our time of need.

When researching soup categories, I {of course} went to my favorite sources but I also looked elsewhere to see if there was consistency among the masses. Research shows that there is a mediocre level of consistency in how cooking gurus categorize soup.  So I gravitated to the expertise of one of my favorite sources, Michael Ruhlman, because he keeps it simple. I heart simple.


The first step in constructing soup du jour is to determine what type of soup to build. We can get started by selecting the category. Soup categories are:

clear soup

A version of soup where the base liquids and garnish ingredients retain their integrity throughout the soup du jour process. Potential base liquids include: broth, water, tomato juice, milk.

puréed soup

A version of soup where the base liquids and garnish ingredients are blended to a smooth, creamy substance. Additional garnish is often added at service to enhance presentation.

As this series progresses, we will cook through several examples of each category.  Becoming familiar with soup in basic terms is an essential starting point on the journey to soup du jour greatness. We begin to see soup from a new perspective. Taco soup and chicken noodle soup become the same premeditation as they are both clear soup with different garnish ingredients.

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