Here’s an onion soup memory. I was in Washington, DC many years ago on a cold, windy, rainy February evening. I came in wet from the streets to a downtown hotel restaurant, hungry and chilled. I ordered French onion soup and did not expect much more than something hot and filling.
It was lovely. I didn’t know bread could be immersed and cooked in broth and still retain a crispy texture. I didn’t know broth could be so rich, so strong with beef character and depth. (It could, of course, because the saucier made it from roasted bones, browned vegetables and lots of slow cooking). The cheese on top was, properly, drizzling down the side, crusty on top and runny when pierced with my spoon. Yet it didn’t stick and come to the mouth in a large, single mass. It was wedded to the bread, imparting its complex, earthy taste and complementing the onions, the slow-cooked, caramelized, soothing onions.
I returned to the wet and cold of Washington a happier man, warmed from the inside, ready for whatever the city and the weather had in store. Good soup. Really good soup.