For the Love of Gazpacho

The nightmare of my youth, aside from coming face to face with a spider, was the cold potato leek soup known as vichyssoise. The color, the texture, the unsoupiness of its temperature -- all three combined to send me running for the hills.

So the first time gazpacho appeared on the dinner table, I was suspicious. How dare my mother try to pull a cold-soup-fast-one on me? I stared at the tomato-y liquid with a mix of loathing and terror.

Happily, one spoonful of the kicky soup changed my tune, and even today, sipping gazpacho on a warm summer night is one of my all-time favorite seasonal indulgences.

My mother’s gazpacho was a relatively simple affair: garden tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, cucumbers, garlic and onions. There were probably a few other ingredients tossed in for good measure (her recipe, sadly, died along with her), but I don’t remember a whole lot of drama. When I married my husband, however, gazpacho put on a party hat and went out dancing. My in-laws’ version serves as a template for all sorts of exciting garnishes, including peanuts, chopped hard-boiled eggs, slivered scallions, croutons, and additional finely chopped vegetables. Around the table we go, passing bowls upon bowls of add-ins, doctoring the soup to our liking.

If you’re inspired to make gazpacho this week, you’re in luck. iVillage has several recipes right on the website, including this grilled gazpacho with cucumber, corn, and mint and a “blood-chilling” gazpacho with an avocado garnish.

If you don’t yet have really juicy, ripe tomatoes near you, please wait until you do.

What ingredient is the star of your favorite soup recipe? Chime in below!

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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