At each of our restaurants, we are known for specialty items. The Iron Bridge Inn is known for their Prime Rib, Rachel’s for great beers and burgers, and the Springfield Grilles are famous for their Turtle soup.
Turtle soup is an authentic southern recipe made with so many ingredients that when people would ask me what’s all in it, I would say, “Everything but the kitchen sink.” It’s also among one of the most sought-after popular dishes in all American history. The spicy southern delicacy is served with a side of sherry that can be consumed multiple ways: You can drink it before you eat it as an aperitif, you can sip it as you go, you can pour it directly into the soup to cut down some of the heat, or you can drink it afterward as a digestif. There are no specific rules to turtle soup. Just eat and savor.
Each time I pass by a table with an empty soup cup and a sherry glass, I ask our guests how they liked it. I usually get responses like, it was delicious, or it was great…only to have me say corny things like, “No one ever says it’s “SOUPER”. That normally initiates a little laugh.
One time I was visiting a table with an elderly gentleman with a Veteran hat on. I went to retrieve his empty cup of turtle soup asking, like always, how he enjoyed it. When he told me, he thought it was the best soup he has ever had, I told him that next time he orders it, he needs to tell his server to make it “snappy.” He chuckled like he had just heard a great joke and told me that I was corny. I guess what I said next was initiated by his Army hat, so I responded to him by saying, “How did you know I was in the Army?” He then said, “What?” “Yep”, I said, “I was a Kernel.” Big laughs.
Most recently, yet again another turtle soup story, happened while I was at the Springfield Grille in Boardman. I was helping one of the servers by greeting a couple at a table while taking them some water. As I placed the glasses on the table, I laid down their straws. The woman picked up her straw and handed it back to me and told me that I could keep it, as she was doing her part to save the turtles. Within the same breath her husband turned to me and asked, “What’s your soup of the day?” For the life of me I couldn’t think of the other soup! I quickly excused myself and told them their server would be right with them. I didn’t have the heart to tell them. Again, more laughs only this time they were my own. Now such a funny one that I can’t help but to share it with you.
I truly enjoy making people laugh. For years I have had people ask me for the joke of the day, and usually I can think of one or two, but the best humor I find is when something happens naturally without force or intention. That’s why the thought of making turtle soup a topic for this article this month is rather ironic and funny to me. In all my years working here, I have never had to ask a server to make it “snappy” because I have never ever had the turtle soup.
I would like to thank Mr. & Mrs. Hall, who I saw today on my way to work as I stopped for a bagel. I shared the story about the straw and the soup, and they said I needed to put that in the newsletter. I appreciate their encouragement to pass along these heartfelt anecdotes I’ve collected throughout the years.