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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup – or where I’m at, it’s simply called onion soup.  As for its history, there are as many versions as there are websites that turn up on a search, so I’m not going to even attempt to sift through and find the real story.  What I do know is, the caramelized onion – beef broth- cheese topped soup we call French Onion Soup originates from Lyon and was a humble way of feeding a peasant family with limited resources.  But honestly, besides its geographic roots, that could be said for the origins of most any soup.
French Onion Soup as we know it is real, but the true version is a far cry from the pub served watered down broth covered by inches of plasticized melted cheese. From my understanding, there are two versions.  One is the beefy broth we know made with caramelized onions, a slice of baguette, and topped with a thin layer of Gruyère cheese.  It is common, everyday food and too ordinary to grace a bistro menu.  The other, soupe à l'oignon, is a late night snack quickly whipped up after some hardy drinking intended to rehydrate and place something in the stomach before passing off to sleep.
I actually got a kick out of serving the beef broth based French Onion Soup to my French family.  We had a laugh when I called it “French”, as if I’d bring an “American Pot Roast” to my mother’s table.  Gastronomically, there are some stereotypes and as a two culture household, we enjoy poking fun at both, like knowing sandwiches a l’americaine, or topped with fries only exists in France or that French Onion soup is simply called dinner.

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