Friday, December 9, 2016

Beer Cheese Soup

THE GAME: Raiders vs Chiefs

Long ago, I found myself in Portland on a drizzling afternoon, eating lunch in the Widmer Gasthaus. One of my dining companions told me I had to try the beer cheese soup.

I had never heard of such a thing. Beer and cheese... in soup? Growing up in Southern California, where the weather is warm for approximately 50 weeks of the year, soup wasn't a part of my life. I do not remember my mother ever making it.

With the exception of the albondigas soup at a terrible local Mexican restaurant, I don't remember ever ordering it in a restaurant, either.

But I love beer and I love cheese, and my friend was often right about such culinary matters, so I tried the soup that day and loved it.

I would like to pretend that I make beer cheese soup all the time now, but I don't. However, every once in a while (meaning once every two or three years) I get a strong craving for a batch when the weather cools down.

Last night seemed like a great occasion.

  • I started by sauteing diced onions in melted butter for twenty minutes or so, just to get them extremely soft.
  • Then I added flour to thicken it and a bottle of Scrimshaw pilsner to smooth it out.
  • Next came two cups of sodium-free chicken stock. (Cheese is pretty salty, so you might as well omit the salt from the base of the soup.)
  • And then I added six ounces each of Jarlsberg Swiss and Tillamook cheddar, which melted pretty quickly. 
  • The soup will be great just like that, but then again there are few foods in life that aren't made just a little bit better by the addition of pig, so I diced up some cubes of ham and crispy, thick bacon, and floated them on top of the soup with green onions. 

  • I've seen multiple baseball games at Kauffman Stadium - it's one of my three favorite major league parks - but never a game at Arrowhead Stadium right next door. (Of course, the baseball games were in July and August and the temperatures were in the low 80s. Last night's football game was 24ยบ at kickoff. I'm not sure there is a scenario in which I would attend such an event.) 
  • I can't tell if I like the all-white vs. all-red uniforms of the two teams. It's either really cool or really ugly. 
  • Back in high school, my coach had a t-shirt that read "We Don't Miss Layups." If anyone missed a layup, we had to run. Sometimes we had to run a LOT. When I see NFL players muff punts, I wonder if they also have to run a lot of wind sprints. 
  • Andy Reid has a successful challenge rate of roughly 48%. But I don't believe I have ever seen him win one.  
  • That was more exciting than most Thursday night games have been, but that's not exactly a hard standard to live up to. 
  • It probably would have been more exciting if the Raiders hadn't dropped so many balls. 
  • For the first time in as long as I can remember, it's December and I have absolutely no guesses who is going to be in the Super Bowl this year. 

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