There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.” Laurie Colwin, ‘Home Cooking’ (1988)

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”
Laurie Colwin

“From time immemorial, soups and broths have been the worldwide medium for utilizing what we call the kitchen byproducts or as the French call them, the ‘dessertes de la table’ (leftovers), or ‘les parties interieures de la bete’, such as head, tail, lights, liver, knuckles and feet.”
Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)
Beautiful Soup

BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beauti–FUL SOUP!

What is as fine as a bowl of soup
In a tureen, carried hot to the table,
Or a beef stew simmered with veggies and meat,
As wondrous as an old Aesop fable;
I love noodle soup or a tomato bisque,
My chili falls into this category,
French onion soup with melted cheese,
Russian Borscht served in its beet-red glory.
Mushroom soup! PepperPot!
Or a Consomme!
Won Ton Soup! Morel Soup!
Cream of Pea and crackers on a tray!
Black Bean Soup! Cabbage Soup!
Or a pot of New England Chowder!
(Not for me Manhattan style–
for that I’d take a powder!)
Perhaps some Mulligatawny Soup,
Or some Minestrone!
I’d even eat some Bouillabaisse,
As long as it’s not boney!
Bring me a bowl of Orleans gumbo,
Or any soup that’s bold,
Or let us have gazpacho that’s
Always served up cold.
Serve me cream of celery soup!
Carrot soup with Curry!
Bring me soups that cook all day
But dish up in a hurry;
Serve me spicy peanut soup
Or turkey soup with rice–
I’d gladly eat green lentil soup
But meatball soup is also nice.
Soup for breakfast! Soup for lunch!
Soup for a late night supper;
Let me have a cup of soup,
For a pick-me-upper.
Let me have War Won-Ton Soup,
Or Tortilla soup that’s spicy,
Let me have a cockle soup
Or lobster bisque that’s pricey!
Serve me cock-a-leekie soup
Or Egg Drop soup from China,
Serve it fancy, serve it plain,
I’m never going to mind-a,
Soups can be hearty or else light –
Feed one or feed a troop –
I’ll never tire or get enough
Of delicious homemade soup.
–Sandra Lee Smith
May 6, 2009


10 responses to “A BOWL OF SOUP (A POEM)

  1. Sandra, I love this posting and your poem on soup! Would you be willing to grant me permission to reprint it in my new bimonthly digital magazine, Celebrate Home Magazine? I’m doing a soup-related feature in the winter issue and was looking for something interesting to accompany the recipes. Your poem is great and I thought it would be perfect. I’m currently working on the winter issue and need to wrap it up in a few weeks, so I would love your permission to reprint your poem soon.

    I’m partnering with a friend, Barbara Kelley, on this venture. We published our first issue online this past October and hope to one day get paid advertising so we can do print runs. But until then, we’re online and it’s a labor of love with no monetary return. I would give you credit/byline and a hot-clickable link to your blog. You can see our magazine on my blog by clicking on this link and then downloading the pdf highlighted in orange:


    • Hello Cindy…you have my permission to reprint my poem – can you just send me a picture of the page its on (maybe a scanned copy?) so I can have it for my files?
      What I do is a labor of love too – dont know that I will ever graduate to a website but meantime, messages such as yours motivate me to keep going. back when I was writing for a newsletter called the CCE (Cookbook collectors exchange) I wrote several articles about soup – its a good topic!
      thanks a lot.
      Permission granted.

      Sandra Lee Smith

  2. Dear Sandra, I was googling for a poem on soup and found your lovely poem. Absolutely love it. You have a real passion for food and writing. I have the same request as Cindy Dyer above. I run a restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan called Nonzero and we are publishing a newsletter with soup as the theme. We love hearty soups and it’s comfort in a bowl. May I have your permission to publish it? I will send you a copy of the newsletter when it comes out or a scanned copy if you prefer. I will certainly give you credit/byline and cite your web link. I just think it is such a beautiful poem on soup and would love to share it with more people. Here is a link of my restaurant http://www.nonzero.com.tw which serves comfort food from all around the world.

    Yours sincerely,

    • Hi, Ming – yes you have my permission to use my soup poem in your newsletter and yes, I wuld love a copy of the newsletter – one for my own files but also because I love soup too! could you tell? I have written other articles about soup and you have inspired me to dig them out of my files and post them on my blog. I live for messages such as yours and Cindy’s because it lets me know I have an audience for my kind of writing. I will try to write directly to you to give you a regular home address. Or can you send me an address to write to and I will write back with a home address. Thanks so much for writing and giving me a much needed lift this morning. 🙂

  3. Sandy, thank you. Yes, you are obviously a soup lover, and in our restaurant, we serve soup meal because it is so comforting and nourishing at the same time. You can write to me at ming@canlove.com.tw

  4. Bassy (Yu-chen Ho)

    Dear Sandra, I am the editor of Nonzero’s newsletter. It is so nice to know that you permit us to publish your poem. Thank you so much! I love your poem! We will send you a copy of the newsletter as soon as it’s published! Thank you again. ^ ^

  5. There is nothing like soup!

  6. Great poem and like many before me I am wondering if I may please use your poem, A Bowl of Soup, in my final capstone paper for my masters in pastoral counseling? I would greatly appreciate it… your poem fits in perfectly with much of how I veiw the world in terms of different combinations of ingredients blending together to create uniqueness.

    • Susie, yes, sure – go ahead and use my poem. if you print your paper can you just send me a copy of the page in which the poem appears? Thanks for writing. – Sandy

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