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Our Town – June 1, 2017

| food, Neighbors, Our Town, Relationships | May 31, 2017

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The Soupster experiences hot gossip and hotter food.

At a table at Our Town’s new Indian/Pakistani restaurant, Naan Plus, the Soupster sucked on an ice cube to cool his mouth from a fiery vindaloo. Sweat dripped off the tip of his nose and his eyes teared freely.

“So hot!” the Soupster croaked.

His tablemate, Sally Crewsin, had ordered the milder biryani and looked at him with sympathy. “At least this lunch is free,” she said.

Sally was paying the tab to reward the Soupster for helping her sell her house. She had placed a classified ad in the Soupster’s eponymous publication and had three offers in one week. Of course, blonde and bright-eyed Sally had a house as adorable as she was and the price she asked was more than reasonable.

“Hey, Soupster,” she said to change the subject from agony and hellfire to something less uncomfortable. “Why did you name the Soup the Soup?”

“I didn’t name it,” the Soupster gasped, inexplicably still eating his volcanic entrée, despite the pain.  “Rolene did. She started the Soup and sold it to me.”

Rolene Bently occupied the body of a middle-aged woman, but had the soul of a frontier pioneer. She was a serial entrepreneur, starting several businesses and then selling them when a newer idea consumed her instead.

“She named the Sitka Soup after her grandmother’s soup, which was made out of whatever was on hand right then. In the early days when the Soup was wildly unpredictable, the name made even more sense.”

“Rolene was something else, you bet,” said Sally. “Did you know she was doing a kind of Airbnb before they invented Airbnb?”

The Soupster nodded and chuckled.

“Rolene had a list of people with spare rooms and would hook up lodging-seeking visitors to Our Town,” Sally said. “Then she moved on to cars and boats. At the height of her popularity, Rolene oversaw land and sea fleets worthy of a military operation. She kept it all straight.”

“Where is Rolene now?” asked the Soupster.

“Somewhere in Wyoming,” said Sally.

“No doubt organizing cowboys into some sort of Ranchbnb,” said the Soupster.

The waiter came with their third dish, a creamy sauce with visible pieces of chicken.

“It’s tikka masala – some people call it butter chicken and it’s very mild,” said Sally. “It’s is more popular in Britain now than fish `n chips.”

The Soupster moaned with relief as the creamy sauce coated his overheated mouth. He pushed the spicy vindaloo to the side. “I’ll eat no more of that,” he said.

“Another of Rolene’s obsessions was food waste,” said Sally. “I bet she would be able to find somebody who wanted your remaining vindaloo. I bet you’d be willing to trade the vindaloo for more tikka masala.”

“Or an ice cold glass of milk,” said the Soupster, whose mouth still smarted.

“Rolene would call it Leftoversbnb,” said Sally.

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 23, 2017

Our Town – February 23, 2017

| Airplanes, Flying, food, Our Town, Travel | February 23, 2017

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The Soupster eats more fruit.

The Soupster didn’t like sitting in the bulkhead or emergency exit rows on the airplane, so he had selected an aisle seat — Row 23, Seat C — on his flight home to Our Town. He liked to sit in a regular row, so he could stow his day bag – normally filled with must-haves and goodies – underneath the seat right in front of him.

Today his day bag was pretty empty – the Soupster didn’t have time to load the bag with treats. Oversleeping badly, he missed both the airport shuttle and the motel’s free breakfast. By the time he caught the next ride, he ran very late. The security lines seemed endless, the gate a long, long walk.

Like some others, the Soupster was old enough to remember when the airlines fed their passengers as a regular thing. Edible, sometimes pretty good, food was served in square plastic bowls that interlocked securely on the tray. Salad, entree and vegetable, even dessert.

Back in those well-fed days, the Soupster had once been served both breakfast and lunch on the same 5-hour cross-country flight. No sooner had the cabin attendants removed the breakfast refuse then their compatriots started serving lunch at the other end of the plane.

The food kept the passengers docile and in their seats and also provided entertainment. No such distractions now, the Soupster thought. Any food a passenger munched onboard these days was strictly do-it-yourself. The Soupster usually nabbed some snacks in the stores lining the concourses. But running late meant he had to skip the stores today and he boarded his flight empty-handed.

The Soupster took his aisle seat. He threw his bag under the seat in front. A middle-aged woman with a bulging carry-on bag stopped at Row 23 and indicated she had the window seat. The Soupster stood up and she squeezed by with her bag. A stout woman, she and her things seemed to fill both her seat and the seat in the middle. She immediately fell asleep.

But the Soupster was distracted. His one last chance for decent vittles on the flight was to purchase one of the airline’s snack boxes, which came as either “Fruit & Cheese,” or “Old World Snacks.” The Soupster liked the fruit and cheese. The old world snacks — olives and salami — not so much.

Unfortunately, the passengers in rows 1 to 23 preferred the fruit and cheese box, too. As a horrified Soupster looked on and listened in, passenger after passenger purchased the fruit and cheese. By the time the flight attendants reached the Soupster, the fruit and cheese was sold out.

A dejected Soupster bought an old world snack box with slight dread. His mouth wanted to be refreshed, not marinated. He lowered his tray table and opened the box. He took out a package of whole grain crackers and some salami slices. He took out a small bag with two or three kinds of olives.

Looking over his repast, the Soupster sighed. He opened the olives. As soon as he did, the woman by the window began stirring. She opened her eyes.

“Oooh, look at that food,” the woman said. “Those olives look scrumptious!”

She lifted her bulging bag onto the middle seat and rifled through it. “Maybe I could trade you for some of your olives and salami?” she said. “I have fruit.” She removed a sizeable Tupperware and peered inside.

“Would you like grapes, mango or pineapple?”

 

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Comments Off on Our Town – June 19, 2014

Our Town – June 19, 2014

| food, Our Town | June 18, 2014

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The Soupster discovers a diner can know too much.

“I hope you’re hungry, Harold,” said the Soupster, as he picked up his friend for their bi-weekly dinner.

Harold put on his seat belt. “Indeed I am,” he answered. “Where shall we go?”

“Out the road,” said the Soupster. “You know — the restaurant that has all those good appetizers.”

“Beer battered shrimp, yum,” said Harold, as the Soupster steered the car out the road.

The Soupster and Harold had kept up their ritual dinner every other Tuesday for going on three years now. After Harold’s divorce, the Soupster proposed the meals as a way to make sure his friend stayed socialized.

The two men had gotten about half a mile when Harold practically shouted, ““Halibut Britannica!”

“Is that the stuff with mayonnaise?” asked the Soupster.

“That’s Halibut Olympia,” Harold answered. “Britannica has bread crumbs, cream, spinach and capers.”

“The place by the dock,” Harold said. “Turn around.”

As the two men headed toward the dock, Harold said, “Or maybe I should get Butter Butt `But.”

The Soupster knew of Harold’s love for the rear end of a halibut, poached in white wine and butter – the older man ordered the dish regularly. It sounded awful good to the Soupster right then, too. The Soupster’s stomach had burbled suspiciously when Harold had said “Britannica.” Poached halibut had to easier on the system than Halibut Olympia, Halibut Britannica, Halibut Pax Romana or any of the other dishes that used mayonnaise or cream.

Without a word to Harold, the Soupster turned off the road setting a new course for the seafood place downtown.

There was the rub. Our Town featured enough restaurants to take care of the Soupster’s tastes, but their number was limited enough that – without meaning to – the Soupster had memorized all the menus.

The good news was that the Soupster could spend a lot of time pondering his choice for the evening without someone waiting impatiently to write his order on a pad and get going in the kitchen. In fact, he often decided what to order when he was dressing at home.

The bad news was that – like this night – that same advance knowledge could lead to a lot of wasted gasoline or futile pedaling.

“It can be hard deciding what you want when you already know every item that’s on every menu,” said the Soupster. “I love Our Town, but sometimes I just want to desert.”

“Dessert!” Harold called out. “Mt. Edgecumbe Mocha Mallow Meltdown at the sweet shop. Turn around!”

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    by on April 20, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

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    Whole Soup - April 6, 2017

    by on April 5, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

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    Our Town - June 1, 2017

    by on May 31, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster experiences hot gossip and hotter food.

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    Our Town - April 6, 2017

    by on April 5, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Soupster experiences people who gained expertise during childhood.

  • 5_4_17cover

    Whole Soup - May 4, 2017

    by on May 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Whole Soup is a PDF version of every page of the Soup, just as it appears in the printed edition.

What is Our Town?

Our Town is a bi-weekly column that tracks the life of the Soupster and his friends and neighbors.

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

The first Our Town was published December 22, 1999.

Read Our Towns published before February 2009 HERE.

Who is the Soupster?

The Soupster is a long-time resident of Our Town who seems to have all the time in the world to traipse around, visit friends and neighbors and get into minor scrapes.

Want to submit a piece for Our Town?

Contact us with your idea or completed piece. Our Town’s must be 450-500 words long, take place in or near Sitka and the Soupster must make an appearance, however brief.

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