Not everybody gets to the cook for the Don. Those who do get to cook for the Don rarely get to cook his soup. Those who get to cook his soup rarely are vouchsafed a glimpse of his Soup Room. Those who are afforded a glimpse of the Soup Room once in a life-time count themselves among the lucky ones. But I work there and I devise New Soups for the San Genarro festival each year, to amaze the Don’s senses and delight his mind.
Do you want to be amazed at me? Reflect that before I became sous-soup-chef the soup noodles were thrown in tinkus-rinkus, like the tohu v’bohu of the original chaos, and only upon my arrival did the idea become first suggested, then actually realized that the PAttern of Noodles atop a Soup would form an intricate pattern a
“design of darkness to apall” (Frost)
or, to speak with the vulgar, a congeries of beautiful impressions: stars and moons, cows jumping over the moons, blushing maidens and bold gallants, scimitars, stegosauruses, cenotaphs, centaurs and seraphic Saracens?
Not yet astounded at my abilities? The flavor of the soup and the pattern of the noodles upon the soup form a pleasing arabesque of space-time so that realizations of what the noodles depict — for first they seem a centaur and then a hippogriff as we procede through the supping of said soup — and realizations of what the flavors are — first a broth of Clam, then a stew of whelk, then a gazpacho of arugula — pleasingly complement each other as the soup takes its soup train past eye and nose then finally to tongue and then finally to Gullet?
But deep in the soup room all is not well. A young upstart has started to win the Don’s favor. He is making soup according to his own plans! Or rather there is no plan. He throws in herbs, scallops, viands, meats as the spirit strikes him. The noodles are again hinkus rinkus. But the odor is amazing!
His soups are displacing my own!
There must be a rapprochement some how, but how?
How can I defeat his my aromas with my guile?
How can I strain out the soupness from the soup?
Rumors exist of a final soup battle. Where will it take place? The Don has been arrested and sent to a federal penitentiary. The BLUE SEA restaurant has been razed and turned into a senior citizen’s center. The depths of the soup room are depths in name only. I am not cooking soup with viands and broths but with words and letters and breaths and emotions. My soup rival is lost to history (some say he became a recluse others a dentist, others that his children are manager of a TGI Friday in Florida) but his spectre exists within my mind.
Deep in the Soup Room I am doing him battle every moment: a Tantric Soup — the soup bowl is my skull, the noodles my nerves and sinews, the meat my heart, the only tongue tasting it is my own.
Soup’s on! Soupcon. A soupcon of soup’s on.
And in the back of my mind an incessant slurping like the oars of a boat taking us all the Don knows where.
— Hoboken, 1984