There’s nothing quite like soup on a cold winter day. It warms you up, inside and out. The first version of soup was introduced around 6,000 B.C. amazingly, as a means to make animal parts and certain nuts edible, and not as a clever way to warm a person after being out in the cold. No, that particular benefit of early soups was more incidental than intended, as true soup making only came about 5,000 years ago when containers for boiling liquid were developed. Over time people realized the potential of the dish as the slower cooking and mixing of ingredients created flavors that yielded more and more varities.

Today there are soups, stews, bisques, chowders, gazpacho, gumbo, goulash and borscht, but no matter what name it goes by, it’s still soup. Phil Wilbur, part owner of Hurricanes Cafe and Deli in Greene, is a chef who truly knows soup. After years in the restaurant industry, Wilbur, his wife Lorraine, daughter, Kirsten Shovilin and her husband, Joseph opened Hurricane’s on Route 202. His penchant for soup making led to adding the wholesale part of the business, where they currently make 13 soups and chowders that are served in area restaurants and stores.

Wilbur says that the key to a really good soup is the stock. Using a high quality vegetable, beef, chicken or fish stock or base that is preservative free makes all the difference. Look for stock that is refridgerated or should be refridgerated after opening, and the first five ingredients should be

“We don’t make our own stock here,” said Wilbur. ” We buy really high quality, all-natural bases; no preservatives.”

Have a good plan before starting; in other words know what order to add ingredients to keep all cooking to one pot. Prepare as much as possible ahead of time, even the day before advises Wilbur.

“Soup should be a one pot deal,” said Wilbur. “Put everything together in the right order.”

Some tips to make soup making easier: dissolve seasonings and base in water before adding to the pot. If using rice in a soup, soak it in some of the stock for 10 to 15 minutes while the soup begins to simmer, then mix in.

Soups are best paired with bread, sandwiches and salad.

Soup tastes best fresh, but many varieties can be frozen for furture meals. Anything cream based Wilbur suggests not freezing to preserve flavor.

He says trial and error are definitley a factor, but many ideas come from just hearing the name of a soup somewhere. Wilbur suggests purusing menus and online recipes for ideas when it comes to making your own soups. Creativity is a plus, so try things.


Phil Wilbur
Deryck Beliveau

Vegetable Chicken Barley soup

Their soups are available at the deli and at various local restaurants. To purchase their soups and chowders for home, visit the Greene deli.


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