Bubbles in My Soup?

We hear that a friend's grandpa used to say "What do you want, bubbles in your soup?" No one knows what it meant, for certain. But it seemed like what you say when you think someone wants even more than what is already prrretty, prrretty good.

Maybe the phrase carries its weight for the fact that you can't get bubbles into soup. Alright, when it's on the boil, of course there are bubbles. But, on the table, no bubbles have ever been seen in soup, ever, even into the foamy mists of prerecorded history.

So we pondered what exactly would bubbles in soup actually be.

First let’s look at soup. It is a wonderful thing, no doubt about it. But its excellence is in the tasting, not so much a looker. It just lays there. All horizontal and flat. That’s probably why chefs came up with garnitures. And, oh yes, croutons. Where would we be without croutons? There are two kinds of people, those that like croutons and those that tolerate them. We are on the latter side. Hold the croutons! Please! About that Cooky Cat is quite finicky.

Soup just lays there, like the proverbial lox. (But, speaking of laying there "like a lox", rest assured we won’t be naming names.) Even the Campbell Soup Company tried to solve the problem, but got slapped by the FCC. The story goes that for an advertisement they put marbles in the bottom of the soup bowl to bring the solid bits up and into view. The government, ever vigilant to protect the welfare of the citizenry, took issue. Seems that some bureaucrat thought that it gave the wrong impression; that there was more there than was, in fact, there. Who could argue that? We’re pretty sure that the soup folks just wanted to show their stuff, not promise more than what was actually in the can. And we think most buyers knew that as well. But things like soup advertising have to stand up to scrutiny on all fronts. Thank you Uncle Sam. Now that everything else should get the same vigilant attention. We’ll stop there lest this becomes a political rant and we start to foam at the mouth. This is not about that kind of foam.

Our loyal readers will clearly know by now that stunt food is not one of Cooky Cat’s things. We don’t want everything piled on top of itself in some triumphal towering travesty of tempting tastiness. Just put the meat here, the potatoes there, and the vegetables there and there. Salad, a separate plate, please. Not that the idea of height is a bad thing. Pancakes do look better stacked, everybody knows that. Soup could stand a little lift too.

That brings us to the bubbles. Bubbles? Bubbles? Ah, yes! Foam! Foam is just… bubbles. Yes? (By the way, we left this writing for a moment and the screensaver “bubbles” was running when we came back with our second cup of coffee. Interesting synchronicity, n'estce pas?)

Who doesn’t like bubbles? Really! Lawrence Welk sure does. When we pour our coffee we pour from on high so that there’s a nice supply of bubbles in the cup. And all those other coffees; the crema on your espresso, the cap on your puccino.  

So let’s add some bubbles to our soup. Grandpa is spinning in his grave, to be sure. You already know about that dollop of sour cream trick. So how about a scoop of some suds to float on top of that soup? Brilliant!

We are not going to give you your marching orders for how to make edible culinary foams. And, we do not recommend that you go out and spend just under $200 to set yourself up with a whipper. But, if you’re the sort that has a gadget for every step of the way in the kitchen, go for it. The results will be spectacular; but we admonish to not buy stuff that’s only going to get a few uses and then collect dust. Also, if you want a gadget, try an immersion blender first. It does the trick and you can use it for other stuff too. A sturdy bowl and a good flexible whisk will do for our purist friends. Besides the issue of having little-used kitchen gadgets to store, there’s the cleanup factor if you use a lot of things in your recipes. Good help is hard to find.

The one thing that seems to be a given in the food suds world is the need to add something to stabilize the foam. Agar and lecithin for you vegetarians, and gelatin and raw egg white for you other less elevated types. (You no doubt have some issues about raw egg. Read up and decide for yourself. Raw egg whites are not so much the problem as are raw yolks.)

If you are really frugal about springing for yet another kitchen appliance, do what our dear ones do. Put your kid in a big tub of whatever you want for foam, and let the little bugger have at it. Below we see the (usually) lovely Iris making some lavender spring herb and watercress foam for a big party.

Party on, Iris!