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Home Cooking with Mary Ann

An old proverb states that "worries go down better with soup."

Soup is the antidote for so many things-more than just when we are under the weather with a cold or flu. For my grandmothers, always having a pot of simmering chicken soup was a ritual. They saw it as a staple dish-not just to warm us when old man winter came calling, but to enjoy and keep us healthy all year long. There was nothing that a bowl of soup could not make better. It was culinary magic.

Soup can be more than a flavored broth. Soup has character that a cook can build upon and change with whatever ingredients are on hand.

Real soup is so easy to make that, for the life of me, I don't know why canned soup exists with all its artificial ingredients. We have all heard of "kitchen sink soup." You can make it just by cleaning out your refrigerator. Those forgotten vegetables that have lost their shine and crunch are perfect for the soup pot. That half an onion, those limp stalks of celery and that lonely looking container of leftover rice can enrich soup. I even use the rinds from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to flavor soup.

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