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The soup of Ezo the Bride

Oh hi there.

Tomorrow marks the arrival of our third new soup of the week, and one that Elaine’s been dying to make for ages. It’s ‘The Soup of Ezo the Bride’ and it’s bloody delicious.

Ezo’s soup consists of red lentils, bulgar wheat, tomato, cumin, sumac, mint and biber salcasi, which we now know is a kind of hot paprika paste. A strange, unknown ingredient is guaranteed to light a fire of intrigue in Elaine, and biber salcasi set the kindling ablaze. But it was only the second reason she wanted to make this soup…

The first reason was the soup’s opaque name. It didn’t explain what the soup was, but it clearly had a story to tell. “Just like calling a shop Union of Genius,” I pointed out, clever girl that I am. “Exactly,” said Elaine, rolling her eyes in that expression of tried patience I’ve given her over the course of the last year. Sigh.

Anyway, the story behind ‘Union of Genius,’ if you don’t already know it, is one I’ll leave for another time. The story of Ezo the Bride, however, I shall gladly tell you now. Gather round, then, children.

Ezo Gelin was a beautiful young woman with black hair and rosy cheeks. She lived in a small village in southern Turkey. All the men who passed through the village fell in love with her and her family hoped she would find a good match. However, Ezo was not what you’d call ‘lucky in love’. Her first husband loved another woman. Darn. She was allowed to leave the marriage on grounds of maltreatment. Her second husband lived in Syria, and she missed her village. Darn. I guess her husband died or something, cos she got to move back and remarried, again. Her third husband had a mother who was very difficult to please. I mean, really. Darn. Apparently, Ezo made the soup for her mother-in-law, in an attempt to keep her happy. I don’t know whether or not it worked, but it’s meant to be a great hangover cure. (Read in to that what you will.)Nowadays the soup is given to brides before they marry, supposedly to brace them for what lies ahead… Or perhaps just because it’s a good alcohol absorber. Interestingly, Ezo only died in the early 1950s, and yet she is already the subject of songs and folklore. She bore 9 children and then got TB. Darn.Ezo’s story may not be a laugh a minute, but her hearty soup will fill you with warmth on a cold Edinburgh day. You can count your blessings as you enjoy each rich mouthful, whilst pondering ‘what’s in a name.’Amy of Genius x