the theology of soup

Soup. There is so much more to it than a bowl and a spoon. Now that colder weather is approaching and I’m standing over a stove, the heart of soup is on my mind.

Soup, glorious resurrection of yesterday’s roast chicken.

Soup, triumphant redemption for the groceries that have seen better days.

Soup, delicious deliverance from soaring grocery bills, astronomical debt, and bulging waistlines.

Soup, savior to the weary soul who is capable only of reheating.

Soup, an undeserved gift of grace from one stock pot to all of humanity.

Soup, the other loaves-and-fishes miracle capable of satisfying a restless and hungry multitude.

In my books, soup epitomizes communion and for this reason, it is frequently on the menu at Watts HQ. Its simplicity frees up space in a crowded kitchen, facilitating meaningful conversation without the awkwardness of “Excuse me – can you please pass me that? No. That other one. In the drawer. Sorry.” When a kind soul asks to help prepare the meal, one can easily delegate the responsibility of stirring the pot (said, of course, with a twinkle in one’s eye and perhaps a wink for good measure.) It can be thoughtfully prepared well in advance and easily transported to people in need of soul nourishment when the act of preparing dinner is too great a task in the face of life’s difficulties. And, of course, soup enables consistent hospitality on a humble budget. Soup, ladies and gentlemen, is simply divine.

The other night Steve enthusiastically called me to the living room, his enormous headphones slung around his neck, a smile from ear to ear. “You have to watch this,” he said. And then two of my favourite human beings appeared on his laptop screen and my heart began to dance. If you haven’t spent time in the company of Loren and Mary Ruth or set foot on their magical farm, this is the next best thing.

The Wilkinson’s made it to St Andrews last fall and we finally had the slightest chance to return their generous hospitality, even if just for two hours. In true Wilkinson form, they came bearing gifts, specifically children’s books.


I already adored this picture of Loren reading Maurice Sendak to Isaac but since watching this heartwarming video half a dozen times, the picture is a certified treasure. So is our copy of Chicken Soup With Rice, signed with love from Loren and Mary Ruth. Regent College’s beloved couple are pure gold. Long live Soup Tuesday and God bless the Wilkinson’s!

2 thoughts on “the theology of soup

  1. Suzy Taylor Oakley says:

    Elissa, what a lovely video and a delightful little book. I may have to get a copy of that tiny treasure. I remember that you’ve written about the Wilkinsons before; what a wonderful treat to hear from them in this way.

    P.S. I have some of my mom’s vegetable beef soup in the fridge right now. It’s so yummy I published the recipe on my blog last year. It’s even more delicious because she made it.


  2. jonwrcongo says:

    My dentist visit reacquainted me with Shannon. She inquired and wanted all the details since you were at chefs’ school. After a précis version, pointed her here.

    That act brought me back. I was drawn in to reread this.

    Elissa, you have an unusual gift with writing. I an so proud of and thankful for you. I bless and encourage you tonight.



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