With autumn quickly approaching, it is only appropriate to shift our focus onto soup. Soup, of course, is the most versatile of the non-solid foods, being artisanally crafted into a plethora of tantalizing concoctions. It’s often hard to pick which soup to have. Many factors come into play such as the weather, your mood, and the source. For our purposes, we will look at the nuances and intricacies of the five most relevant soups.

Chicken noodle soup: Ah, yes, the grand poobah of soups. Just throw together your entire vegetable garden with some chicken to get this masterfully versatile broth. Did you know there are more chickens on planet Earth than people? Chicken’s probably the most versatile meat, so it’s no surprise it surfaces on the soup power rankings. It’s imperative to use the breast of chicken, rather than the leg, as it will more readily absorb the broth and melt on the palate. Pair this with a nice slice of sourdough bread, and be on your way.

Beef stew: You may find yourself saying, “What’s the difference, other than the type of meat?” Well, the stew differentiates itself from a noodle broth with its thicker consistency, the use of biscuits or dumplings rather than noodles, and the use of heavier vegetables. This soup falls to second place, if only for the difficulty of preparation. It is really hard to make a great beef stew, and stews definitely find their niche in particular types of weather. What’s more, show me someone who orders beef stew on a date, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t getting a second date. Be sure to add colorful vegetables and spices for a well-rounded stew, which should be put on a medium-high to hot-simmer for approximately 45 minutes and then cooled before serving.

New England clam chowder: The staple of the northeast. A mighty-fine, creamed soup with a touch of spice to go along with a rich consistency. It’s critical to keep this soup at a warm, medium-warm temperature while you’re eating. If this soup were a person, it would be Samuel L. Jackson. It’s never the star of the meal, but ubiquitous enough to be a big draw. Throw in a few cubes of potato here or there, and you have a dish as good as “Pulp Fiction” itself.

Split pea soup: This soup is somewhat of an art form. To make this pasty combo, you’ll need a few key ingredients. Simmering on medium-low is a must, as the peas must become one with the broth. A ham bone adds that smokiness you simply cannot replicate with other soups. Throw in a touch of thyme, some dill, and even some light parsley for aesthetic excellence.

French onion soup: I’ll tell you what—this could be considered an upset. French onion soup seems to have a loyal following that lurks in the shadows, only to come forth when French onion takes ridicule. Sure, the croutons in the mahogany broth create a nice combination, but where does it stand out? Be it for fear of choking, or for an apprehension about combining soup with a layer of thick mozzarella, this option is underappreciated by droves of soup-eaters worldwide. 

Honorable mention: Gazpacho. It’s fun to say, more fun to eat. Pair with a Corona and lime for a crisp lunchtime delicacy.

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