It might come as news to the 4 or 5 Mexican guys who read this blog, but us chicas want to let you in on a little secret: We know you love your bigotes—moustaches—but if truth be told, for some of us, being kissed by a man with a moustache feels like being kissed by a cactus . . . or a scrub brush . . . or the edge of a broom.

I should know. My viejo, who I once believed was free from such hirsute vanity, is now growing a moustache almost the size of Emiliano Zapata's. And my upper lip hasn't felt the same since.

I know that sporting a moustache is a proud Mexican tradition. Most of us have never even known our fathers without one. The only time my papá ever went without a moustache was when, as a young man, he found himself looking for work in Butte, Montana in the early '50's. It appears that some of the town's children were fascinated by him, following him around because it was the first time they had ever beheld a Mexican. That is until it got so cold that his moustache literally broke off.

Then the fascination came to an abrupt end.

What soup can you cook for a man with a monumental moustache? A dry soup, una sopa seca de fideos that won't get his moustache all wet. The kind of soup whose angel hair like pasta swims in a pool of orange-colored roasted tomato flavored broth, tinged with a touch of oregano, cumin, garlic and onions. The broth is cooked down until only the fine fideo pasta remains. No watery broth to drench his finely trimmed Handle Bar or Pancho Villa.
Just throw in some sliced calabacitas—zucchini—or any other vegetable, or any left over cooked chicken into the pot, and you have a substantial side-dish or a light meal. It's just right if you are bored with Spanish rice. What can be easier (and cheap)?
I have informed my viejo that his moustache makes him look like some corrupt politico, but he laughs, replying thank you for the compliment, and how about letting your own Frida Kahlo moustache grow and so we will be even? So far his entreaty has fallen on deaf ears. Ha—¡chistoso! Funny, funny man.

Okay, I must admit that the moustache does make my viejo look attractive, virile and muy macho (in a very good way). Somehow those choppers of his seem to glisten against the silver/blackness his upper lip.

But if he wants a soupy sopa de fideo he's gotta lose el bigote. Or, perhaps not. He's fine just the way he is.

"Dry Fideo Soup"

Sopa de fideos This pasta soup is mistake proof, and this recipe is just a guide. It can be as "dry" or as "wet" as you want. If it comes out too watery for you, just boil it down to the consistency you like. Besides, the fideos will continue to soak up the moisture until they are "dry". Children love this soup, especial if you use star or alphabet pasta instead of coiled or cut fideos. My little niece goes nuts when you top the "dry" soup with Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese. Feel free to double the recipe if you want. Why the whole chile in the soup? It won't add any spiciness. But whoever ends up with the chile has to eat it!

2 cups crumbled coiled or cut fideos. Substitute cut-up angel hair pasta.
2 medium sized cut-up red juicy tomatoes (about 1 cup); OR, one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce.
½ cup diced white onion
1 clove peeled garlic
½ to ¼ teaspoon powdered cumin, or to taste
a good pinch of oregano
2 ¼ cups of hot chicken broth for "dry" soup, about 5 cups for "wet soup"
1 tablespoon vegetable oil of your choice
1 thin-sliced zucchini; or, any vegetable you have lying around (optional)
left-over cooked chicken pieces (optional)
1 small whole dried chile (optional)

Purée the tomatoes or the tomato sauce and the garlic clove in a blender. (If your kids don't like onions, purée them, too.) Set aside.

Take an absolutely clean skillet or a pot and heat on the stove until it is hot. Add the vegetable oil and continue to heat until it is hot, too. (Doing this prevents the fideos from sticking to the pot.)
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the fideos, the diced onion (if you like them in your soup) and the dried chile. Continue frying them and stirring them until the fideo turns golden brown. Add the powdered cumin and fry it for just a minute—no longer.

Add the tomato mixture, roasting them over medium heat until the moisture is gone, and the bottom is slightly burned. (See picture)
Quickly pour in the chicken broth, and stand back! Now is the time to add the sliced zucchini and the chicken pieces. Adjust seasonings to your taste, bring the soup to a boil, and cover with a lid. Lower the heat to a simmer for about 13 minutes.

Do not open the lid. The zucchini slices will continue to "cook" in the hot pot until they are tender. If the soup is a little dry for your taste, just add a little bit of chicken broth and reheat.
Eat the chile.
Serves a family of four.


Refried Dreamer said...

HAHA... if that's not the truth. My viejo is growing his little "cholo" mustache and V-thingie into a credible brocha. And while I will agree that they look so damn sexy.... it does feel a little like making out with a broom.

Nonetheless, I'm sure he will enjoy your sopa recipe! Saludos!

Leslie Limon said...

I remember when my hubby and I first started dating...pobrecito...he was trying to grow a mustache, but it only consisted of a few strands, Cantinflas-style! Many years later, he is now able to grow a full mustache and goatee. I'm not a fan of the mustache, but I love his goatee. My suegro, being the Macho Mexicano that he is, hates when his sons grow a goatee or shave their mustache completely. Who knew that the mustache was so representative of El Macho Mexicano?

By the way...I love sopa de fideo! In my house, the one that gets the chile has to clear the table!

Anonymous said...

I've never tried a "dry" soup like that, it sounds terrific - my daughter would especially love this, also topped with cheese as your niece does!

Anonymous said...

Dear Tia,
This is terrifically out of the blue but when I saw fideo soup I had to...
I haven't had sopa de fideo for a long time, but I love it so, especially since it reminds me of Grandma. Just a thought.
I miss you!
--V. (the first one)

Clementina said...

Hi Sobrinita (the first one);
Abuelita made the best fideo soup. Maybe we can have some together when I come to visit.

Miss you, too, my cutie pie!


Anonymous said...

Hey Clem,
My daughter refers to this soup as "sopita de la buena". Nuff said.
Regarding dad's mustache- he says he still bears a scar from when it broke off in that cold Montana winter. Said he, "No wonder none of the men there wear mustaches!"

Clementina said...

Hola, Hermanita "E"!
About Papi's broken moustache: no wonder he called Butte, Montana "the ugliest city he had ever been to."
(With apologies to my Montana-born friends. I know that parts of it are beautiful.)

Rachel said...

Sopa is my favorite! My suegra and my hubby's aunt can't make it often enough! I will definitely be making this recipe. Thanks :)

elizabethrosasjewelry said...

My dos centavos are: hopefully he will get rid of the bigote because I hate to see the leftovers hanging off of it.

Thanks for the great stories...

Clementina said...

Hola, Elizabeth!
Tu sabes, I'm already sharpening the razor!

Chica said...

Love your website!

jennydraws said...

I have to see that stash A. Is wearing. I can't remember ever seeing him with one

Monna said...

Hi Clementina,
This post is hilarious. My favourite line is about letting your own Frida moustache grow in. Excellent!

My viejo has a bit of a mustache and beard. I don't complain because:
1. I'm Canadian and we are not permitted to complain about such things.
2. I just keep in mind all of the crazy stuff about me that he endures with grace!

I am about to add your blog to my blog list!

Anonymous said...

1) Men! Don't they know why God invented razors? (And no, I don't want to hear about hairy legs!)
2) Thank you for introducing me to A Brush with Color from your personal blog list. How beautiful!

Clementina said...

Hola, Monna, Chica, Jenny Draws, and Anonymous!
Upon further consideration, I think I WILL let my Frida Kahlo grow. What is good for el macho is good for la macha in this instance, no que no?
Sorry for not responding sooner.

Anonymous said...

I have not checked in for several weeks but I enjoyed catching up. Sopa de fideo has always been my favorite, especially the way my mother made it, slightly soupy (I had no mustache at the time, so no worries). You have a way with words that creates strong visual images. I especially liked the reference to sitting on the curb, "looking hot and bored." I remember many summer days like that.

Clementina said...

Hola, Anonymous!
Sopa de fideo is great, but a whiole lot easier to eat if the moustashe is missing.
Un millon de gracias for your kind words.

prashant said...

This is terrifically out of the blue but when I saw fideo soup I had to...

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claudia said...

Mi abuelita me hacia esta "sopita", especialmente cuando me daba algún resfriado. Nunca nadie la ha podido igualar. Ella ya no está conmigo pero en mi memoria se quedó ese sabor!

Clementina said...

Hola, Claudia!
Yo tampoco puedo duplicar el sabor de la sopa de fideo de mi mama. Ahora ese sobrosissimo sabor existe solamente en mis recuerdos. Ahora cuando preparo "la sopita de la buena", como dice mi sobrinita, pienso en ella.

Grammy said...

I loved this soupa! The flavors blended together and tasted wonderful. Also, this soupa was "sturdy" enough to be a meal in itself. Grampy laughed at the story that accompanied the recipe. He tells me men keep their moustaches to save the flavors of their dinners for later. Yuck!

prashant said...

it does feel a little like making out with a broom.

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