Waiter, There's a Fruit in my Soup! Waiter!

From the Huron Valley Advisor - July 17, 1968

Many years ago I used to read recipes in the newspapers which combined unlikely ingredients into what some anonymous writer would tout as the dish of the century. Thinking that anything sounding so totally awful must be delicious, I would immediately run to my kitchen and cook it. Most of the time the dish not only sounded awful but tasted awful For a long time I blamed the indigestibility of the finished product on my ineptitude at the range.

Then one day about 15 years ago I went to work for a company that wrote and distributed special supplements to small newspapers around the country. One of the publications we edited was a Food Supplement and I and the other non-cooking editor would nibble our way around the various food shows in New York sampling new products and collecting recipes. We also received recipes (unsolicited) from the publicity departments of one food product or another. One that we received, from the Pickle Institute (yes, there is, or was, a Pickle Institute), was for a concoction entitled "Pickles, Pineapple and Peanut Butter". This completely broke us up. Our reconstruction of the birth of that recipe was a scene in which a stogie smoking press agent at the Pickle Institute looked up from his battered typewriter and growled at the copy boy, "Hey kid, gimme the names of some foods that begin with ‘p". And thus a new hit was born.

Being young and conscienceless we included the recipe in the next supplement and sent it off to over a thousand newspapers in the Western Hemisphere. I never found out if anyone actually tried it.

Since then I've been extremely wary about sampling printed recipes that sound at all peculiar. So, when I first encountered directions for fruit soups I was in no hurry to make them which is a shame because I missed several years of gastronomic delight. Retribution, I suppose, for the pickles.

Fruit soups are made from almost any available fruit and can be served either hot or cold, as an introduction to a meal or as a dessert. In deference to the season, the recipes that follow are for cold soups. And in deference to my continued happy residence in Washtenaw County, they are not the products of a press agent's whimsey but have been cooked, sipped and enjoyed at my house many times.

Melon Soup

Puree in the blender enough ripe cantaloupe or Persian melon to measure three cups. Combine the puree with a mixture of 1/3 cup fresh lime juice and 2 tablespoons honey. Add white wine and grapefruit juice until the mixture has the consistency of a thin soup. Chill the soup and serve it with a spoonful of sour cream and a few melon balls on top. Serve as a first course.

Strawberry Soup

Put 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup sugar in the container of a blender. Cover the container and start the motor. Remove the cover and add, a few at a time, 4 cups of very ripe strawberries. Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth, about 10 seconds. Put the strawberry mixture into a saucepan, add ½ cup claret and 3 cups water and heat slowly, stirring constantly. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil. Chill the soup and serve it in chilled bowls, garnishing each bowl with a few small strawberries. Serve as a desert.

Raspberry Soup

Cook 4 cups of ripe raspberries and 1 cup dry white wine slowly for at minutes, until the fruit is tender. Strain the fruit and juice through a fine sieve. Return the mixture to the heat and stir in ½ tablespoon cornstarch which has been mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon water. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer it gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming the top from time to time. Season with salt, pepper...and sugar to taste. Add ½ cup each of orange juice and white wine and chill. Serve as a dessert with spongecake.