Elle est très soupe au lait!
ay lay tray soo poh lay! Click below to hear this.
She’s very quick-tempered.
What on earth does milk soup have to do with being quick-tempered?
So glad you asked! Remember the last time you tried to heat milk on the stovetop? Maybe you were making a cup of cocoa, or a white sauce. and you had the pan simmering just perfectly, tiny bubbles around the edges, and you turned your back for an instant to reach for a spoon–and there’s your pan, sputtering and sizzling all over the burner, erupting like a volcano.
That’s what she’s like. She’s calm on the surface, and then the tiniest thing sets her off, and she erupts in anger. So you do your best not to upset her in the first place. I can’t tell you how to handle her, but I can tell you how to make la soupe au lait, and I can tell you how to keep your soup from exploding.
This is French/Belgian comfort food at its most basic. There must be as many recipes for la soupe au lait as there are mothers in the world. But the essential ingredients are milk, bread, and a little seasoning. The bread may be in the form of croutons from day-old bread, toasted slices of stale bread, or toasted bread crumbs. You may pour the soup over the bread or run the soup through the food processor. You may add sugar, butter, eggs, cheese, or vegetables. You may also call it la panade, which specifically refers to the presence of bread in the soup.
Oh, and how to keep it from boiling over? It sounds like magic, but it’s science. Just leave a wooden spoon in the pan, or lay a spoon across the top of the pan. In my next post, I’ll explain why that works! And I’ll even include a recipe.
Alternate link to audio file: elle-est-tres-soupe-au-lait