Not just any soup- Potato Leek Soup. At this point, whichever point it was, my love for potatoes was already well established. Leeks though? I’m fairly sure I didn’t even know what a leek was, let alone why it would be with potatoes in soup. I’m sure I knew I liked other kinds of potato soup, most likely the baked potato kind, but I ordered it anyways. Or, probably had my mother order it for me.
This soup, this soup was magical. I have no memory of whether this soup was chunky or smooth, or topped with anything special. What I do remember is the flavor. I had never tasted anything like this soup. It was creamy and potato-y and something else (obviously leek-y but I didn’t know what leeks were, remember?) and elevated potato soup to an art form. Honestly, this is one of the first times I can ever remember wanting to know more about food. Why did it taste like that? Why didn’t other potato soups taste as good? And what was a leek for goodness sakes?
Food is one of the great ways of triggering memories. For instance, I can remember exactly how the best pizza I ever had in my life tasted- a thin crust potato pizza topped with gooey cheese and olive oil in the Jewish ghetto of Rome when I was 17 because I had never even seen potatoes (potatoes!) as a pizza topping before and knew I had to try it (and finish every last bite of it). I can also remember exactly how the Quattro Formaggi pizza I got in Florence tasted a few weeks later because I ordered it before I remembered how much I dislike gorgonzola and didn’t finish the whole thing. (It tasted like feet.)
Well obviously I didn’t make that exact soup, but I made one that tastes like my memory. And that is magical.