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Vichyssoise soup
Vichyssoise ( ) is a French-style soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold.

Origin

The culinary origins of vichyssoise, namely whether it is a genuinely French dish or an American innovation, is a subject of debate among culinary historians. Credit for the dish usually goes to Louis Diat, the chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York Citymarker for most of the first half of the 20th century. Diat related his recollection of the invention in New Yorker magazine in 1950:

"In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato-and-leek soup of my childhood, which my mother and grandmother used to make.
I recalled how, during the summer, my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk, and how delicious it was.
I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz."


The same article explains that the soup was first titled crème vichyssoise glacée, then, after the restaurant's menu changed from French to English in 1930, cream vichyssoise glacée. Diat named his invention after Vichymarker, a town not far from his home town of Montmaraultmarker.

Others contend that French chef Jules Gouffé was first to create the recipe, publishing a version in Royal Cookery (1869). Diat may have borrowed the concept from an older generation of French chefs and added the innovation of serving it cold.

Vichyssoise can be confused with its warm cousin Potage Parmentier.

In popular culture

The soup's cold serving temperature is used for comedic value in entertainment. For example, in the 1992 movie Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne is surprised at its temperature, saying "It's cold!" to which his butler, Alfred, responds that "it's vichyssoise, sir." Bruce stares not understanding. "It's supposed to be cold." Bruce shrugging, proceeds to eat it. Similarly, on an All in the Family episode , Archie Bunker's neighbor brings over a dish of vichyssoise for dinner. Before tasting it, Archie brings a spoonful towards his mouth, blowing on the soup to cool it, and then remarks as he tastes it, "Look at this. Three blows and all the heat's gone out."

In the Broadway musical Nunsense, the convent's cook, Sister Julia Child-of-God, made a breakfast of vichyssoise soup that killed 52 of the nuns with food poisoning, a clear reference to the Bon Vivant vichyssoise incident of 1971.

In the 1994 film The Mask, vichyssoise is used in a sexual innuendo. The Mask says to Tina, "Kiss me, my dear, and I will reveal my croissant. I will spread your pate. I will dip my ladle in your vichyssoise."

In the Drake & Josh episode "Paging Dr. Drake", vichyssoise was used as a surname when Josh impersonates a doctor. Drake: "Dr. Vichyssoise?" Josh: "It's a soup!"

The soup's influence is not limited to the comedic, however, as chef and author Anthony Bourdain lists vichyssoise as the catalyst of his lifelong passion for food, telling of a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Marymarker at the age of 9, when he first discovered this "delightfully cool, tasty liquid."

In "V for Vendetta", V uses this word to explain the mess of words he uses in his introductory "V Speech". V says to Evey, "Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose," loosely referring to a "word soup."

In Orson Scott Card's novel Shadow Puppets, Bean receives a note signed "definitely not vichyssoise." The note is from his friend, the emperor of China, Han Tzu, who was known by the moniker "Hot Soup" when the two attended Battle School together.

In video games like Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Tales of Vesperia it is one of many dishes that the protagonists can make.

References

  1. Kamp, David The United States of Arugula, New York: Broadway Books, 2006



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