Mankind’s moods and behaviors have always been influenced by time. Circadian rhythms. Hibernation. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Well you can add one more thing to that list: Boudin’s seasonal soup of the day. You see, their Wednesday and Sunday “soup of the day” slots each week are reserved for the seasonal soup. In the Spring and Summer months, this is a good though unremarkable “Spring Asparagus” soup. But in the Fall and Winter months, the Bay Area is treated to something… magical. Boudin’s “Butternut Squash” soup is so special, that I think it actually improves my temperament for the roughly six months it’s available every year.
Now, I’m not crazy here. It does not escape me that it’s unusual and even absurd to talk about a food in this way. But this is not just another soup. This stuff will change your life, I’m not kidding. Their Butternut Squash soup is sweet and savory. Every bite delicious. Topped with walnuts and dried cranberries. Served in a bread-bowl if you so choose. (And if you’re extra hungry, I’d be remiss not to mention their stellar grilled cheese sandwich.) I’m trying here, but truly, it can’t be described in words. You have to have it for yourself. And it’s not just any butternut squash soup. I’ve tried the others and have found them wanting. It has to be Boudin. The Boudin chain, part of San Francisco history that it is, has locations all over the Bay Area and even a few in SoCal. You need to go find one. You need to go and have this soup. Do you realize that it’s technically Wednesday as I’m writing this and that it’s soup day? You can have it for lunch today. And who knows how many more weeks we’ve got access to it before Spring Asparagus comes back and casts us into six months of darkness? There’s no time to waste here!
You might imagine that with this kind of fervor, I might have developed a certain reputation when it comes to this soup. You’d be right. The staff at the Boudin near my office knows me by name (“Norm!”). My friends and coworkers are well aware of my position on the matter. I’ve got a frequent buyer’s card. This is serious stuff. And believe me, everyone laughs at my enthusiasm. Initially. Then they try it, and the very next week they’re proselytizing just like I am. I wish I had a photo to share here to give you an idea, but I wouldn’t be surprised if — like ghosts and angels — direct photos of this soup never seem to come out.
Then there’s “The Bet.” Somewhere along the line, when trying to convince someone to try the soup, I offered a wager. “If you don’t love the soup, I’ll reimburse you. But if you do, you have to buy my soup next Wednesday. Honor system.” Do you know that I’ve had streaks of as many as three weeks where I didn’t have to buy my own soup? The victories are too many to count. And I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I’m batting 1.000. It’s like an Amway pyramid scheme. Or my own little butternut ponzi thing happening here. Try it on your friends. To this day, I’ve got a troupe of converts, soupin’ it up every Wednesday with me. Bringing it home to their kids. Trying to recreate the recipe for their families. Making more converts every day.
OK, OK, laugh it up. Brush me off. But would I make such a fuss over nothing? I’m telling you, when you finally do try it, you’ll curse all the squandered Wednesdays from this day to that. Before you know it, it’ll be Spring. Go before it’s too late!
Listening to: The Clash – “The Essential Clash“