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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Art of Good Soup: Biggest one yet

Graphic art for "The Art of Good Soup" column is pictured.

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and Sadie and Ellie had a fire in their tummies. They had just gotten yelled at. On hump day?! The audacity.

“That was unhinged,” Sadie said. She looked at Ellie, her ginger eyes burning like her passion for a stable career, house in the suburbs and a British lord. Not a passion for anything else.

“I can’t take this, I need to put something in my mouth!” she yelled. Sadie’s stomach grumbled. The last thing she consumed was watermelon that tasted like tuna. Not in a fishy way, per se, just in a mind-bending one. Sadie didn’t know much about fruits or tuna, but she was certain they should not taste like one another.

Ellie stepped in. “I know just the place. It came to me in a dream, after a hairy man with a lumpy torso fell flat on the ground and died.” Ellie always had weird dreams, usually involving Sadie’s ex-lovers. Exclusively lumpy torso ones. And ones with cartilage piercings and really bad blogs. Sadie has really bad taste. That’s why, at Ellie’s instruction, the two packed their bags and headed for the T.

They rode the T for one stop then promptly climbed off. They weren't in the train long, but it felt like ages. The doors opened to Porter Square, and they rounded the corner to see a massive escalator. This was the biggest thing they’d ever seen. They’d ridden a lot of escalators but never any this incredibly, amazingly, gobsmackingly huge. They had to tell their friends about it.

After getting that high — on the escalator of course — they were even hungrier. Luckily, it was a short walk to Yume Wo Katare.

“Wow, there’s already a line!” Sadie said. But then again, she was used to waiting for things, like texts and Thursdays.

“I’m sure it’ll move quickly,” Ellie said. The two glanced around at others waiting. First in line was the pushy blonde, trying to enter despite the rule that the full party must be present to sit down. Sadie shouldn’t have been sympathetic, but Ellie is always late, so she knew what it was like and sympathized greatly. But the lady had a low ponytail. Gross. She was also 5’2” and annoying. She looked like a founding father.

Their attention shifted to a couple. The two had a foot between them. She could’ve been an WNBA all-star. He would fit in just fine with Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas. They were a beautiful pair.

“Wonder how that works,” Ellie said, giving Sadie a nudge.

“Well, I’m clearly not a physics major. How would I know?” Sadie replied.

“Right,” Ellie said. “Neither am I, but I’m still curious.”

“Me too.” They stood there for a while, imagining things. A kind man with a ponytail came and told them to enter. Time for the real action.

First, they were led to a table at the front of the small room. They took a cup of water and a pair of chopsticks, filing into the last row in the restaurant. Filling the space were three long wooden tables with every seat taken. If you looked up, you could see written messages from past customers floating in painted clouds. They were dreams! Why? Because after each soup-er finished, they were invited to share their dreams.

Matt hoped to open a motorcycle shop. Marcy wished her boyfriend would propose. Samantha just wanted to find happiness (a little unoriginal for wall writing, Sadie and Ellie thought).

They sat for a moment. Then, they were asked, “Would you like some delicious garlic?” The answer was yes, obviously. When a sweaty stranger offers you garlic, you always say yes. It makes for a great start to the night.

Next, they were called up to grab bowls from the cheery host. The smell was nothing short of magical. It made their bodies tingle from their nostrils to their toes. The broth was hot, but they still went face first. It was also perfectly salty, and they could taste the garlic.

It was chewy and slimy.

“I’m in love,” Sadie said.

“Finally?!” Ellie exclaimed. She was kidding, of course. If Ellie had a dollar for every time she heard Sadie say that, she would feel a little more secure about being an English major.

The first thing they noticed were the sprouts. They looked dainty and slim next to bulbous slices of pork. But the girls weren’t intimidated; they knew what they were doing. They had been training for months now. Visiting different places, consuming various liquids. They had a soup count of seven — higher than all their friends.

They went quiet as it got more intense. They wanted to reach bowl bottom so badly. So badly. It hurt, but in a good and satisfying way. Their stomachs were filling up fast, but if they could just last a little bit longer…

It was Sadie who finished first. She let out a groan. “I can’t do it anymore.”

Ellie then laid down her chopsticks. She was out of breath. There was nothing left to give. She was so close to bowl bottom that it stung a little when the man next to her finished with a clean bowl and a satisfied smile.

“Ugh, I think it’s just a guy thing,” she said. She looked around the room. “No women ever finish.” The woman with her short king also had a fraction of soup remaining. Unsurprisingly so.

It was true that the portions were so large, only those with a pit for a stomach could finish them off. Albeit, this time it was nobody’s fault that Sadie and Ellie couldn’t finish. They had only themselves to blame.

Still, they were given the chance to share their dreams with the other customers. The host quieted the restaurant and gave Sadie and Ellie the stage.

They would tell you, but then they would have to kill you. That’s how dreams work, dummy. Nice try.

Sadie and Ellie rate this soup 19 spoons. It was unlike any they had tasted before. A real home run.