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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Soup Seminar, Pt. VIII: Elvin P. McCardle shares his Insights into the Soup-Master’s Position, Pt. 2”

The Steve Miller Band’s second album, “Sailor,” was as good as the first and continued the band’s powerful psychedelic attack on the blues.  As with the previous album, the twin guitar-attack of Steve Miller and cohort, Boz Scaggs drove the band forward and made them an act not to be missed.  The first four albums featured all of the early hits and are among the best of their discography.    We urge you to take the handy link to Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.  


Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 513 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!


                                                   STINKBUG 2011


Chef Elvin P. McCardle

END Commentary 07-28-2011

Copyright © 2011 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,905.



Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Chef Elvin P. McCardle


 Soup Seminar, Pt. VIII: Elvin P. McCardle shares his Insights into the Soup-Master’s Position, Pt. 2

Bakersfield, CA, 07-28-2011 Th:  I am back with today’s conclusion of the discussion we commenced yesterday and I think if you found the opening installment interesting, you will enjoy the conclusion.  As discussed yesterday, the art of soup-making is just that: an art that nowadays is forgotten with the demand of most restaurants to lower food-and-labor costs.  It’s easier to buy soups already made, whether in the can, from the freezer, or from the grocery store and maintain consistent quality than it is to entrust a member or the staff who is probably already overworked, stressed, and overloaded to do the job.  When one hires illiterate illegal aliens to staff their kitchens rather than to give their fellow Americans a job for a decent wage, one runs the risk of foodborne illness, spoiled product, and bad reviews. I would rather have a foodservice professional make me excellent soups upon which to base my restaurant’s reputation than have someone from Oaxaca, Mexico throw together something that is going to sicken half of the city and ruin my business! Let us continue on with the conclusion of yesterday’s post:   

By the time everyone had eaten, they were impressed at how good the soup had tasted. All of the simple folk were so impressed; they wanted the recipe which the soldiers wrote down for them. The people even invited them into their homes for the night so that they would have proper strength when they set off in the morning. The people followed them down the road a little ways before parting company with them.

     So, that story brings us to an interesting intersection in Chef Brian’s world: what part do ingredients play in the finished product? Soup should never be made around 100% top-quality products but instead built upon leftover things that need to be moved or something you have in excess of. That is the reason why I leave my next day’s choice to the afternoon of the day before. Ingredients are what determines almost all soups except of course classic signature ones like clam or other shellfish chapters.

     The number one ingredient in soup is the stock. This will make or break your soup every time. Sure, you can buy instant flavorings for just about everything or buy canned ones. However, you can make your own at home. Every time you cook something in the oven (baked chicken, a roast, or some pork butt, you’re partial there. If you have bones and trim, you’re really there because anything that can be reduced to a gelatin (when held overnight in the fridge) has an awful lot of pure flavor. One other source I need to recommend is fish trim. Fish trim is fantastic because it generally sets up to a high degree of gelatin and therefore has a lot of power.

     How to get stocks and flavorings? We discussed the making of Espagnole, poultry and seafood, shellfish stocks already but we’ll do a quick run through here one more time. I’d rather use fresh each and every time and only highlight the flavor with the use of an added base which is good however one always be careful- store-bought bases have a lot of flavor but they also have a lot of salt so be careful! Always start with less salt and pepper as you expand recipes into larger and larger batches and rely on the taste buds of your tongue to make the final determination for you. The rest of the seasonings can be increased with no problem.

     Traditionally, one would be preparing next time’s stock the time before because time is the essence here. If you want to make soup one day, you want everything to be ready, you know, the spirit of mis en place and all, right? So here’s what you would do, roast the beef bones, pork bones and poultry bones in a medium-high oven until there was a good deal of caramelized deposits on the pan. Remove from the oven then and place the bones in a pot of cold water.

     In the meantime, place the pan on which the bones were roasted on the stove and de-glaze with hot water by whisking off all of the deposits. Then, scrape all them into the pot, too. Place on medium-high heat and lower to and keep at a low simmer allowing the stock to slowly reduce.

     The above method is fine for beef, pork, lamb and chicken or turkey while veal or fish do not require the roasting but simply the simmering. You want to keep these stocks snow-white unless directed to do to the contrary because the sauces you make from them are generally white. When you have this stock on hand, what do you do with, how do you handle it? Well, if you have a freezer, that’s excellent because you can freeze your stocks in one-quart-size Styrofoam containers, put on tight-fitting lids, label, date, and freeze in the fridge until you need them for the next time.

     This I have done in the past, especially when I was working at Maui Memorial Hospital back in the mid-Nineties. Now, back in California, I like the way my Executive Sous Chef goes about his business. He generally makes anywhere from 15 to 25 gallons of Espagnole and perhaps the same amount of chicken. These can last a long time in the walk-in when the fat cap isn’t broken on top but once it is, you have to use it fairly fast.

     As I’ve already written, soup is a contrary situation. On-the-one hand, you want it to be good yet you want it as a way to dispose of leftovers which thereby helps the kitchen in food cost at the end of the month. So, I say to you, never use ingredients that are bad (more on this in the info about chili) but do incorporate leftovers where ever you can. Use leftover vegetable products, cooked or uncooked meats, anything, just go for broke and create something new and make it work!

     It is always best if you can predict the amount that will be consumed on any given day so you won’t have a great deal leftover or you will have 86’d which means you ran out. The second choice is the right one because it builds a certain mystique regarding your culinary talents. It is always good to portray yourself as the gifted genius and if anything happens to the contrary, just delegate the failures and f-ups on the backs of those lower in the ranks.

     The opposite side of the coin is that a lot of foodservice operations cannot afford to make soups anymore just as they cannot afford to bake. In effect, we become more dependent upon our sales personnel who in turn introduce us to more and more products. This is OK to a certain extent but not when our entire way of doing things reflects back on, say, S. E. Rykoff rather than us. The more dependent we become upon our purveyors means the worse things will be for us. I know I’m already covering ground that’s already been covered.

     Let me show you another place where we go wrong. The Chef at SOCC charts the soups for everyday of the month which I disagree with. When you lock yourself in with a system like that you have no way of knowing when you’re going to have this or that to work with. Sometimes things that are plenty good enough to use on any given day go out in the trash (which can be expensive!) because you’re not going to need them right away. And, to freeze those means that there is just that much more you have to keep track of in an already cramped situation. No, I whole-heartedly disagree with this kind of doing things. I think that soups (other than Friday’s chowder) should no more be plotted ahead than 2 days at the most but that’s it.

     Now let’s look at the science of the soup: there are basically two kinds as I’ve already spoken of, the stock and the cream. There are tricks to each of them so one has to always keep these things in mind. In soups that are built completely built on stock like chicken noodle, for instance, the noodles should be kept out until it’s time to eat and then only mixed in as you go and not all at once. If you put the noodles in    they’ll gradually become thicker and thicker until they’ve sucked up most of the juice from the stock. This can totally ruin your soup because then you’ll have to add more stock which in turn will delete the power of your spices.

     In soups such as split pea or navy bean, they, too, should be finished as close to possible as can be because you don’t them to begin to thicken as well which is what they’ll do. When they’ve cooked and are done, keep them warm in a double-boiler or Bain Marie until you’re ready for them. If they begin to thicken, add a little bit of stock and re-test their flavor to determine whether they need additional seasoning.

     Finally, the cream soup which is like a béchamel with additional ingredients in it  are built upon veloute-type soups. Keep warm until close to serving time and then, add the cream and heat the soup back up so that the cream assimilates with it. If you add the cream too soon, it will begin to change from snow white to an unattractive yellowish color. Finally, if you’re going to enrich your soups with butter, be sure to save it for the very end.

     When you have leftovers that you would like to use whether or not it’s for the next day or for next week, soups, especially thickened ones need to be treated with care. First-of-all, you have to get #2-inch or #4-inch pans to hold it or if it’s not a lot or at home, pour it into your 1 quart size Styrofoam containers.

     Place the pans on the middle shelves of your walk-in. Then, bring in the soup and pour it into these pans. Do not use larger than 4” size hotel pans because if you do, you run the risk of the soup staying hot in the center of it which will cause the entire batch of it to spoil.

     Occasionally, stir it around with a kitchen spoon to help it chill faster but don’t cover it with plastic wrap because that, too, can keep the warmth in the middle which will cause it to sour as well.  The next day, scoop off the crust that has formed and discard it. Transfer the soup into smaller containers and then, you know, assume the position (I’m only joking) which means, label, date, and refrigerate (or freeze). Your soups do well coming out of the freezer, you’d be surprised but one word of caution on that, too:

     If you’re using leftover soups, be sure that they’re the first to go out and are not combined with the new batch because then since you have combined the two together (new batch plus old batch = you can’t save leftovers at all), you cannot use the leftover batch. Therefore, #1 scale your recipe size down since you’re using leftovers and then make sure the leftovers go out in the first urn with or without a little bit of fresh just to sparkle it up.

This is where we shall conclude today’s lecture and I will return for tomorrow’s blog post to finish this story.  It is our desire to enlighten you on every single bit of foodservice knowledge as is possible.

Like I said yesterday, I, too, have had a great time today and as always enjoy my opportunities to write for the Elemental News of the Day. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun!

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came. Well, we had a great time today and I will be back tomorrow to give you one soup recipe and then someone else will come on in with something else. Who knows, we might make soups for awhile?   

Thank you!

Elvin C. McCardle

Elvin C. McCardle

American Culinary Federation, Inc., CWC


This is me as a young chef back in the 1970's when I was working as a sous chef at a resort hotel over on the coast around Ventura Beach, California. I began my career working as a busboy in 1963, move to washing pots in 1965, became a chef's apprentice in 1969 and have been a career professional ever since. I am still involved in professional foodservice as a consultant for food and beverage professionals.


END Commentary for Thursday, July 28, 2011 by Chef Elvin P. McCardle

Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.


This original essay was authored by the one-and-only Chef Elvin P. McCardle

Recipes created by Chef Elvin P. McCardle on May 07, 1947 in Bakersfield, CA.



“Stinky” of the Elemental News of the Day for the best of the news, politics, sports, foodservice, hotel and restaurant business, the end times, the end of days, the apocalypse, armageddon, and whatever else happens to pop up!




This is #1326, an 8” x 10" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Just Passin’ By." It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures I

This is a photo of Magnolia Hilltop Brewers' drummer, Brian Carrick, at Lake Isabella, CA on 10-06-1978 during the sound check prior to the gig.

 This is a shot of Chef Brian Carrick home from work on 10-17-1980 from the Freddie's Top of the Hill Restaurant in Bakersfield, CA.

This is a photo of guitarist/vocalist Chuck Swartz helping to load the gear for the Garces Memorial High School gig on 11-04-1978 at Shamrock in Bakersfield, CA, the base of operations for the MHB.

this is a shot of Groucho the Cat on 09-20-1978 at Shamrock prior to a rehearsal of the Magnolia Hilltop Brewers.

This is a shot of Brian Carrick's stepdaughter, Katrina Ann Dillard on 10-17-1979 at Shamrock in Bakersfield, CA.

This is a photo of Victor Gaona at Taft, CA, on 09-15-1978 with the Magnolia Hilltop Brewers. He was one of our vocalists and our longtime bassist.

This is a shot of Vernon McMahon (left) and Victor Gaona (right) of the MHB on 06-29-1978 prior to the start of a five-hour rehearsal.

This is a shot of Lupe Carrick prior to leaving for the Taft, CA, gig on 09-15-1978 with the MHB. She was our main photographer.

  This is a shot of Brian Carrick's famed Pineapple Upside Down Cake at the Stockdale Country Club on 10-17-1988.



Magnolia Hilltop Brewers and What's Cookin' Productions Trademark of Quality and Symbol of Integrity. Copyright 07-28-2011, all rights reserved. No unauthorized reproductions of any of this material are permissible unless granted by written permission. Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.

Chief Editor: Stinkbug.

Assistant Editor: Moses Scharbug III

Proofreader: Amos Mosby Caruthers.

Beer: Smokehouse.




Elvin P. McCardle, The Soup-Master, Gourmet Cooking, The Steve Miller Band, The Prepmaster, Soups, Stocks, Gourmet Soups, The Pantry Chef, Foodservice Career Notes,






Trademark of Quality c/o the Elemental News of the Day and Magnolia Hilltop Brewers Productions 2011 of Bakersfield, California, the United States of America.

1 comment:

  1. If there is one thing we love doing here it is promoting one’s another’s posts. We have a great recipe here today by my colleague and close friend, Chef Elvin and I certainly do hope that everyone gives this recipe a view. Being a Soup-Master is not an easy job because one must constantly innovate to make the best soups. Note that if you have the best, you generally will have a good portion of the city’s business at your place every day for lunch. Thank you.


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