Souper Stars

Maybe it’s the way the planets are aligned — or an attempt at finding some guidance in the world — but astrology is everywhere (really, everywhere) these days. The once quasi-fringe mystical practice has gone almost completely mainstream, along with the more widespread adoption of crystals, tarot and other rituals long reserved for those with more of a witchy or “woo-woo” bent. Not to be left out of this unusual new trend, food magazines have gotten increasingly in on predicting what people should eat or drink according to their sign, from cocktail picks appropriate for the retrograde, to dinner menus planned in accordance with an upcoming eclipse.

I’ve always been a little fascinated by astrology (I’m a Pisces sun sign, Cancer moon sign and Cancer rising sign, for those playing along at home) and figure there’s no time like the new year to dive into a hobby head first. So, no, I can’t tell you if you’ll find a soul mate this year, or whether or not a major career change is the right move. That kind of stuff is above my pay grade, so I’ll leave it to the professionals. One thing I do know, however, is the power of soup — glorious soup — and how it can serve as a life-elevating force at even the lowest of moments.

So, without further ado, below are my recommendations for the perfect tomato soup for 2019 based on your zodiac sign. Go forth and slurp, astro-friends. (Oh, and for all signs: Tucking half of a gooey grilled cheese next to your soup bowl is definitely recommended in the yearly forecast.)

Best Tomato Soup for Water Signs: Cancer (June 21-July 22), Scorpio (October 23-November 21), Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Gazpacho has ancient roots, and a chilled bowlful on a steamy day in the Gulf South can feel like a vehicle for traveling back in time to an era when farm-to-table wasn’t just the latest craze, but a way of life. A dish native to the Andalusian region of Spain, gazpacho possesses an innate simplicity and wonderful palate-cooling properties, ensuring that the fresh, supple mouthfeel of tomato takes center stage. The dish works best when tomatoes are blended with high-quality olive oil, salt, stale bread (ideally from a leftover hunk of sourdough) and a dusting of spices that specifically enhance the type of tomato being used. (For a fruit-forward version, strawberries or melons bring out the sweeter notes of the tomato.) It’s the kind of easy-to-prepare, good-for-you staple that, once entered into your home-cooking rotation, will feel like an unassuming way to practice the art of self-care in your own kitchen.

Water signs, you’ve been longing for some simpler times, and everyone definitely knows there’s something a little “Old Soul” about you to begin with. You’re also extremely generous with your resources and energy, which perhaps has left you depleted as the new year begins. In 2019, it’s time to refocus on your needs by creating daily rituals that make you feel centered, balanced and supported — whether it’s long baths with a glass of wine, or whipping up a bowl of gazpacho that will nourish you on all levels.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Best Tomato Soup for Air Signs: Gemini (May 21-June 20), Libra (September 23-October 22), Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

When it comes to soups in general, tomato bisque really punches above its weight, carrying with it a sense of headiness and refinement in each velvety bowl. It’s also infinitely versatile, which deeply appeals to Air signs, because, due to their intellectual nature and innate curiosity, they love to probe just how many combinations and permutations are possible with any subject: Is tomato bisque best with a swirl of crema? Or how about when made with fire-roasted tomatoes? They also love to wax philosophic, and there’s pretty much no better way to debate the meaning of art-house films or the concept of free will than with a piping hot bowl of bisque to fuel your lofty thoughts.

In 2019, it’s time for the Geminis, Libras and Aquarians of the world to stop over-analyzing every jot and tittle of their daily interactions, and trust their guts instead. There’s something to be said for tapping into one’s intuition, and while it might not seem natural at first, adding a little bit of softness to your sharp mental edges will make your life less overwhelmed by the minute and, in turn, more pleasant. Trust me: It does not require a pie chart and pages of analysis to figure out whether or not to add a sprinkling of goat cheese on top of your bisque.

Soupe au Pistou
Best Tomato Soup for Earth Signs: Taurus (April 20-May 20), Virgo (August 23-Sept. 22), Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Soupe au Pistou is a traditional Provençal soup that’s about as earthy as it gets, much like the ultra-grounded Taurus, Virgos and Capricorns of the world. Similar to a minestrone, it’s from a branch of the tomato soup family tree that includes plenty of its vegetable cousins in the mix; traditionally, leeks, zucchini, potatoes and carrots are added to a tomato-packed stock thickened with orzo or a similar small pasta. It’s the pistou, though, that really gives the soup its unique flavor profile. Like a pesto without the nuts, pistou is the result of grinding basil, parmesan, garlic and (perhaps) an extra plum tomato into a thick paste — along with olive oil, of course — which is then plopped on top of the soup. The concentrated basil essence from the pistou mingles with the tomato for a familiar flavor-profile dance, which is only enhanced by the presence of other garden-fresh components.

You could learn a lot this year from the Soupe au Pistou, Earth signs — mostly about collaboration. You thrive in orderly, structured environments, and often can find yourself taking on the brunt of the work in a professional setting simply because it’s faster than asking others for help. In 2019, resist this urge, and look for all opportunities to work together on projects and joint efforts. Sure, it might take a little longer, but much like the pistou enhances the soup, your work experience will be richer for it.

Bloody Mary
Best Tomato Soup for Fire Signs: Aries (March 21-April 19), Leos (July 23-August 22), Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
In years past, would I have referred to a Bloody Mary as a unique type of tomato “soup”? Absolutely not — I would have expected to be met with a few incredulous eye-rolls if I had. After all, for generations, the beloved tomato-juice-and-vodka concoction has been the ultimate hair-of-the-dog drink: a beverage that often replaces a morning-after meal, sure, but still a boozy sipper in its own right. Lately, though, restaurants have started garnishing their Bloody Marys with far more than a few blue-cheese-stuffed olives or a wimpy slice of celery. Now, thanks in part to the viral power of social media, there seems to be a never-ending race to see who can put the most extreme amount of edible goods on top of a Bloody Mary, with everything from fried oysters and beef jerky to pickled shrimp and kimchi regularly appearing speared in the drink — and in the process, blurring the line between full-on (alcohol included) soup and cocktail.

Much like the Bloody Mary, Fire signs are known for their spicy personas and their ability to keep a crowd easily entertained. Even though risk-taking might come second nature to you, recently there’s been a little bit of self-doubt lingering. In 2019, don’t be afraid to take a page from the modern Bloody Mary canon and be as extravagant and expressive as possible with whatever you do: Cast trepidation aside as you fully embrace new passion projects with all the confidence of a person who puts a whole roasted chicken on top of a Bloody Mary and calls it a “garnish.”