French Onion Soup, Family and Food Being More Than Its Flavor – Alexander Brown

This is absurd for several reasons, the most obvious being that soup is not something anyone in their right mind wakes up to with enthusiasm.

That’s not to say I don’t like it, a winter leek and potato with bread and butter in a one to one ratio is a starter for the ages, but it’s undeniably just that a soup.

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The occasion was my mother’s birthday, so I had taken her and my father to a French restaurant, where naturally I had French onion soup, with cheese bread croutons floating on it.

French onion soup brought back memories. Picture: Getty Images” height=”359″ width=”478″ srcset=” 320w, 640w” layout=”intrinsic” class=”i-amphtml-layout-intrinsic i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”intrinsic”>
French onion soup brought back memories. Photo: Getty Images

This limited description suggests that it was only a food to be eaten, when it was so much more wonderful.

At this point, I must confess that in fact, despite all this, I don’t particularly like French onion soup.

Onions are obviously a great base for making a sauce, especially with white wine and tomatoes, but no one has ever had a craving or gone to a restaurant specifically for an onion.

Still, I felt a love for it that I usually save for troubled women, envisioning a long-term future where me and this soup will take care of each other until we grow old.

It wasn’t for its flavor, wonderful as it was, but rather for its connotations and how it made me feel.

Growing up, my family and I would vacation in France and enjoy set menu lunches where my dad would choose French onion soup, followed by steak and fries.

Wanting to be like my dad, close to my dad and eat like my dad, I would naturally follow suit.

He would have his steak bloodied, and so would I. He would burn his mouth with soup, and so would I. He would spend the whole trip reading about Tottenham, and so would I.

This soup took me back to that time, those overseas family vacations, where I didn’t care to call my apartment “home” instead of my parents’ house.

All these years, older, grayer and not particularly well-behaved, I ordered onion soup with my father in a French restaurant while talking enthusiastically to my mother.

The meal wasn’t about the food, it was about how I felt, about the nostalgia and memories that lay in its thick caramelized goodness.

Food is so much more than its flavor, even now I find comfort in things not because they are so much more delicious than the alternative, but in the thoughts they conjure up, the little moments I associate with them.

Butter and jam on bread isn’t just a snack it’s coming home from school to my mom making me two slices and having one with her in the kitchen before running off for a Simpsons and Star Trek double bill .

Grated parmesan isn’t just easier, it’s the mountain of what my grandmother would leave in a bowl for us to drown our bolognese at her house in Manchester.

The joys of food lie not just in how it tastes, but how it makes us feel.

This meal was growing with my parents, the joys of what came before, and again making memories with French Onion Soup.

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