I am not a soup critic. Critical of the quality of the soup I drink, perhaps, but a critic of it? Nah. I am also not a sweater. A human who more-than-occasionally wears sweaters, totes mcgotes, I am one of those, but a swath of fabric with two arm holes? That ain’t me. If you can believe it! So how did it happen, you must wonder, that such a marriage of two things I distinctly am not could have come together to create the beef of this self-authored market report: an equal parts presentation of great sweaters (priced $30 to $1250) and verbal deep dive into the flavor profiles of 5 vegetarian soups? Furthermore, you must wonder, why the hell you are still reading a review that launched by informing you that its writer is neither a soup (critic) nor a sweater, but I promise it will be worth it.
If only because, like I said, one of these sweaters costs $30. And one of these soups — not telling you which one! — tastes like a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. Are you ready? Cue drumroll!
If you thought this sweater was unpredictable, you clearly haven’t surveyed the carrot ginger soup aisle at Whole Foods. I’m just kidding, there is no carrot ginger soup aisle at Whole Foods, but given how ubiquitous the combination has become — a sort of new age peanut and jelly — it is only a matter of time. And to that point! It would be remiss not to mention that this soup tastes like a morning juice, only thicker and packed with salt. There’s a kick at the end, indicative of a trace of yeast and at least three use-cases for this cardigan outside the trenches of winter. Eliminate the base layer turtleneck, strap on a bra and wear it open with a belt cinching your waist. Or unhook your bra, button up the sweater, and marvel in the crochet boob cups. 65% off on The Outnet. 3 Servings per container of soup.
Mushroom Broth x Ganni Stripe (and a Balaclava to Boot)
You know who carries soup in a coffee cup? The kind of woman who also wears a balaclava and sunglasses while she is indoors. Why? Because she has spirit. She has gumption. She has a framed photo of Jackie O on a wall in her bedroom. Inside said coffee cup is Brodo’s mushroom broth, the infused hot water equivalent of wakame seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, some onions, celery, tomatoes and chickpeas. You can’t taste the tomatoes or chickpeas and, as a matter of fact, will probably think you’re drinking a strained version of miso soup, but in the event you’ve been trying to soft launch your foray into mushroom teas, this is a good first pass. File it next to great sweaters to bring out your eye color. This one is thick enough to wear with confidence on a 25-degree day, reasonably-sized enough to fit under a coat and cropped just right to hit your jeans at a point that neither requires a fake tuck or submission to the sloppy hang-out. $490 at Net-a-Porter.
Imagine eating a jar of the best pasta sauce you’ve ever tried because you didn’t realize the thing missing from your own recipe was chili flakes and there you have it: Good Stock’s classic tomato soup. Now imagine you are a 17-year old girl hankering for a boxy sweater with an elastic trim, who so happens to have a 13-year old brother with a school year’s supply of just that from the Land’s End catalog. This sweater is from J. Crew but similarly hails from a department for younger gentlemen and while their adult fair isle selection is healthy, mighty and meritoriously on sale, this number (size 16) has gnomes and mushrooms on it. There are foxes, too, but then again, to the oblivion of my taste buds, there are carrots in the soup. You focus on what’s great and that’s just that. $32 at J.Crew.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for! Soup that tastes like a blended bagel. Thick like a smoothie full of banana and avocado but rich like a German chocolate cheesecake learning to do push-ups. Upon first sip I wonder, is there cheese in this? It must be cheddar. At second gulp, I realize there is cinnamon — no, nutmeg, actually, it’s definitely cinnamon. It clings to the apple and highlights the squash and is that cheddar? By the third guzzle, it’s clear: I’m drinking a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and I’ve almost forgotten that the perfect winter sweater, ribbed and gigantic — no styling necessary! — has subtle bat wings. $1,251 at MATCHESFASHION.
There’s a free band name idea — you’re welcome. If you plan to take it, I only ask that you rally in favor of purist miso soup blends like this one from Wild Ginger, boasting only the basics: seaweed, miso and tofu. But not the killer kind! I’ll buy you a lifetime supply of the good kind if you can name that reference. Pair it with the most purist tie-dye, rendered in cashmere so soft I am almost numb and add a silk scarf to wear like your grandmother did because you’re a luxury, baby, and I’m drunk on sodium. $950 at MATCHESFASHION.