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Restaur-ative Soup for the Soul

Last week, we served a Butternut Squash Soup as the first course for our Dinner and a Movie series. This soup was so delicious that Pascal and I have made another batch to eat for our own dinner tonight. I think it's my way of celebrating the arrival of fall. By eating soup, I'm hoping that the cool, crisp fall weather will soon follow. In fact, I'm already planning another soup menu - Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - for the weekend. Or perhaps, it's just a way to nurture ourselves after a long, busy week; when you're tired, there's nothing as comforting as a steaming hot bowl of creamy soup. In fact, the restorative powers of soup were responsible for the creation of restaurants as we know them. At least, that's what the French say...

Naturally, the French claim they invented the concept of the restaurant. (I like to joke that the French claim they invented everything!  More on this in tomorrow’s blog...) The story goes like this: In the 1700’s, the monarchy was literally making people sick and tired (you know, that whole Louis XVI-Marie Antoinette-Let Them Eat Cake-era). Street vendors began to peddle soups and bouillons said to "restaurer" (the French word for "restore") one's body and soul. Hungry peasants, weary travelers, and tired city workers would stop to enjoy a bowl of ready-made-soup. It didn't take long for a savvy entrepreneur to seize the concept and turn it into something even bigger. In 1765, the first official full-service sit-down "restaurant" opened. As the restaurant trade grew, so did Les Halles, the central food market of Paris.  The market opened in the middle of the night, selling produce, meats, fish, and everything else you could think of to eager buyers. Frenetic bargaining (think a stock market trading floor for food) ended in deals agreed upon with a handshake. Around dawn, the sellers, buyers, and Parisian night owls would flock to the dozens of restaurants nearby, often opting for steaming bowls of French Onion Soup, eager for its famed restaur-ative powers. Mmmm... French Onion Soup. I think I've already got at least one idea for next week's dinner.

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