by Chef Randy As a kid, I couldn’t wait for mom to make alphabet soup for Saturday lunch. I looked for pieces of macaroni to spell my name and was usually disappointed that I couldn’t find a “y”. Then, I was disappointed that the soup was no longer hot when I got around to eating it.
According to the website, triviahappy.com, alphabet soup has been around for quite a while: “Alphabet soup seems like an iconic piece of kitsch, canned by Campbell’s and eaten around 1950s lunch tables. But the history of pasta-driven literacy is much longer than you’d expect. In fact, alphabet soup goes back 150 years, and people have been playing with it the entire time.
“In 1886, one paper published a tutorial about macaroni and included alphabet pasta in its list, as well as pasta in the shape of hearts, stars, and crowns. That entire decade, the Italian Macaroni with the alphabetic shape was being sold across the country, but it was invented even earlier.”
Yes, alphabet soup was the hottest culinary innovation of…1867. Just after the Civil War, the Tri-Weekly Standard in Raleigh first reported on a new fun type of food: “The latest culinary novelty is alphabetical soup. Instead of the usual cylindric and star shaped morsels of macaroni, that have hitherto given body to our broth, the letters of the alphabet have been substituted. These letters of paste preserve their forms in passing through the pot.
So, now you know the history of alphabet soup. Make my version and enjoy trying to spell your name but be sure to take a bite along the way. It’s much better while still hot!
2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
28-ounce can stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
1 cup fresh carrots (sliced)
1 cup fresh celery (sliced)
1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
1 cup fresh cremini mushrooms (sliced)
¼ cup fresh basil (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups alphabet pasta (such as Davinci)
Parmesan cheese (grated for garnish)
Plug in your slow cooker and set the heat to low. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker except for the pasta and cheese. Cover & cook for 7 hours.
Add pasta and stir. Turn heat to high and cook for 20-30 minutes or until pasta is done. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle cheese on top. I like to bring extra cheese to the table in case I need more for my soup.