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If First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again AND Again with Artichoke Soup

Making soup isn’t all that different from building a lean startup business. In both cases you have to make, test and learn.

Take for example, our journey toward creating the perfect Cream of Artichoke Soup!

The first time I attempted to make artichoke soup, I bombed…big time. The failure was not so much about technique as it was about the lack of effort. I hadn’t always been a fan of artichoke and I didn’t really know what to do with it either.

However, every time I went to the grocery store or the market – especially in the fall of the year, I could never resist its bold and beautiful purple hue. So, I tried again.

I went online and consulted a few recipes, gathered all of my ingredients and set out to make my own delicious version of a soup. While it’s true I didn’t follow all of the directions completely –, I never do, it cooked up beautifully anyway.

‘Remind me to serve this to a man whom I do not love!’

All was good until I served it to my youngster who took two slurps and proclaimed: ‘Remind me to serve this to a man I do not love!’ Ouch! One has to love our quick-witted, snarky teens. So I asked her to continue with her critique. She said that the soup would taste terrific – if only the “grass” was removed.

So what was the “grass”?

She was referring to the stringiness of the artichoke. I had not chopped the artichoke petals finely enough before putting them into the kettle. Even after blending and adding cream, the soup’s consistency still wasn’t smooth enough, so I desperately needed to run the contents through a strainer.

I’m sure there are better ways of perfecting this technique and also better ways of avoiding this as a professional chef, but hey, I’m not one. I grabbed the strainer from the cupboard, along with two bowls and soup and poured the contents through the strainer, keeping only what was good. I repeated this two more times until I got the desired consistency and a smile from my daughter, indicating that all was good. My daughter now says she’d be happy to serve up this soup to a man whom she does love.

As for me, here are the common sense lessons learned:

  1. Follow directions for recipes until you perfect it.
  2. Be open to honest opinions because it’s the only way you’ll ever improve.
  3. Invest in a good soup blender. Sometimes you need to really break down coarse ingredients
  4. Use your strainer
  5. Try again and do it until you get it right.

Pretty easy advice, huh? It’s funny how you can even apply the same advice to business. We’ve since made this soup dozens of times. We’ve finally gotten it right and the outcome is always the same…Simply Souperlicious.

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Carolyn Moncel

Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is a digital media and communication consultant, author, mother, contrarian, book, music and reformed veggie lover and Founder and Souper-in-Chief at Simply Souperlicious, a platform devoted to helping fans "fall back in love with veggies" -- one local, seasonal, soup recipe at a time. Follow her veggie and soup journey on social media @simplysouperlicious.

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