Happy 81 Degree Winter Solstice – Riesling Onion Soup

onion riseling soup
It’s the height, er rather, the “depth,” of winter in the northern hemisphere. It is what we northern hemisphere-centric folks call the winter solstice (which is really the summer solstice for half of the world). Astronomically speaking, the winter solstice is the point in the Earth’s orbit around the sun in which our crooked little self points our poles the furthest away from and closest to the sun. The southern half sticks its booty right out toward the sun and places like Australia and Argentina have their longest days of the year; the northern half tilts away and we have our shortest day of the year. Just a few hours of sunlight that fade into the cold winter darkness by 4 pm.

In LA, it gets dark by 4 pm (i won’t even get started on the effect this has on our already wonderful traffic), but on our winter solstice, the mercury has pushed up past 80 degrees. It’s not cold. It’s not even the slightest bit chilly. I drove around the city on my Christmas shopping spree with the air conditioning on medium-blast in my car. It is hot in LA in the middle of winter.

onion riseling soup
sweating it out with the onions

So a steaming hot ramekin of sweet, comforting onion soup gurgling under an herbed crouton and blanketed over with a thick slice of burbling, bubbled, blistered cheese doesn’t sound at all appetizing. Maybe a couple of cool, raw pieces of sushi; perhaps a crisp refreshing salad; not soup, unless it’s gazpacho or vichysoisse. It doesn’t even sound fun to sweat it out along with onions over the stovetop to make the soup. Actually, I love getting all glossy over the stovetop, so never mind the last sentence, but we get the idea of how hot soup doesn’t fit the December weather right now.

onion riseling soup
deliciously sweet and a little drunk

Despite the temperature, I made a pot of Riesling Onion Soup this week anyway. It’s like French Onion Soup, but instead of using red wine and beef broth, I used white wine (Riesling) and chicken broth. I also had to ladle the soup into ramekins because I’m just a little bit too unemployed to go out and buy a nice new set of miniature oven-proof soup crocks. Maybe when I’m filthy rich and filthy famous *wink*, I’ll make Riesling Onion Soup and serve it in proper little crocks, but until then, the ramekins were a better option than cereal bowls.

It didn’t feel right to eat onion soup in the dead of 81 degree winter. Stupid winter LA solstice. Probably would have worked better in LA’s June Gloomy summer solstice.

Too bad the longest night of the year doesn’t fall on a weekend. Now that would have been nice, since I also had to drink the half bottle of Riesling that was left. :)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous December 26, 2005 at 7:49 pm

The soup was lovely and perfect for a chilly dark evening! JP.


2 sarah December 26, 2005 at 7:52 pm


you said “lovely”

never thought you’d call a soup “lovely”


3 jackdeluxe December 27, 2005 at 5:38 pm

happy new year-


4 Lady Amalthea December 27, 2005 at 6:08 pm

Well, the soup does sound good, but I agree–it’s always strange drinking “warm” foods in LA. That’s why I prefer going East for the holidays.


5 sarah December 28, 2005 at 2:48 am

i remember holidays in michigan and ohio, and they were fun…cold and sometimes snowy.

but how very spoiled i’ve gotten. as much as i love to whine about how it’s so warm here, i think i’d be much much worse off on the EC. LOL!


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