In praise of ‘anarchy soup’ — not something I think I’ve spoken of before, though probably I have. The point is, however, anyone can do it — good friend Stripey came up with both recipe and concept, and really the concept is more than the recipe. It’s arguably a spin on the idea of ‘stone soup,’ ie throwing everything in and seeing what works, but there’s a slight method to the madness that’s crucial.

Basically, you have to be a confident, inspired and willing-to-take-chances cook — note I don’t say you have to be a spectacular cook! Just that more chances you take, the better, a bit like the various tomato sauces I was trying last summer. Stripey’s approach is simple at heart — the base is always tomatoes and tomato broth, homemade or not, but beyond that, whatever vegetables, spices and so forth come to mind, thus the ‘anarchy’ part, for she first tried it, she just decided to grab what was to hand. Prepare different things at different seasons, go lighter or heavier depending on your mood and that of the weather (about which more in a bit), just see what works but don’t simply just dump everything in, actually engage with the soup, taste it, try it out.

This past Saturday there was a small dinner party at Stripey’s place and the recipe this time included chopped peppers, sauteed onions, chicken broth to add heartiness. Outside there was rain and more rain in huge amounts, but inside, along with good warm bread and a fine salad, the soup couldn’t have been better. I mentioned this meal to a friend in LA and a couple of days later she reported:

so when i read this yesterday(im just gonna tell the truth)…it sounded so good that i decided to make my own batch of tomato vegetable soup…mmmmm…it was delish…the pot was gone by the end of the night (and the kids dont usually like veggie soup)…must have been the rain that made it such a perfect meal…

And thus anarchy soup shares the love. Best darn soup concept ever.