Interlude: Enjoying food
(Big, long, emotional day here, so I decided to avoid the heavy post following up on yesterday’s remarks. It’s ready to go though and should appear tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.)
I was thinking while driving up here that I was driving through three or perhaps four distinct foodscapes (and also thinking that if I had to drive 1350 mi through Europe I’d have encountered many more than that) and wondering which sorts of U.S. regional food Mr. Armitage might enjoy. If I had to pick one dish from the foodscape of the area where I live and work to recommend to him (one that he might not have tried in London?), it would probably be (by a nose) tortilla soup. I encountered it for the first time in a less spicy, less tomatoey variation while in the Yucatan as Sopa de Lima, but I like it in both guises. Stolen pictures of tortilla soup to the left, Sopa de Lima here below.
Both usually have a broth made with chicken, onions, and peppers (though you can make it vegetarian if you prefer). Cooked in the soup are chicken and vegetables; as I said the tortilla soup usually has more tomatoes and chiles in the broth itself, whereas Sopa de Lima often has lime pulp added to the broth and a more delicate, less forceful taste. Key to either variation are the add ons. You put dried corn tortilla strips or chips into the soup just before eating so they soften up and play the role of noodles. These are usually accompanied by a tiny sprinkling of a local cheese (resist the U.S. temptation to drown everything in cheese — I know it’s hard! — just take a little bit to melt on top) and slices of fresh avocado and chopped fresh cilantro (as you like them — leave off if you don’t like) and, very importantly, as much fresh squeezed lime juice as you like. It’s that lime juice that lightens the whole dish and makes you–or me, anyway–want to eat plate after plate of it. (Tortilla Soup nosed out chiles rellenos, another serious favorite of mine.)
What food would you offer Mr. Armitage if he were visiting your local foodscape, now that you know he really enjoys food?