I have an old friend named Ralph. He's from Germany. He is one of the best cooks I've ever known and his German Meatball Soup is legendary. Yes, I said his soup is legendary. Because it is...within a small group of people, but legendary nonetheless. The meatballs are perfection, the broth is homemade and the tang of sour cream, vinegar and some capers on top? Food nirvana.
The legend of Ralph's Amazing German Meatball Soup
How does a particular food become legendary you might ask? For starters, I think the frequency the dish is prepared creates a certain aura around the recipe itself. Ralph is also an eccentric individual with many talents, an odd sense of humor (in a good way), and a general non-chalant type of character. He's Ralph and we love him.
Ralph's German Meatball Soup is mostly made on special occasions. This usually means dinner at Laura's house when a block of time has passed and we all haven't seen each other. Laura will say, "Ralph's making his meatball soup." These are magical words to hear. The excitement starts building. Ralph arrives with all the supplies and starts cooking. Someone sets the table. If it's winter, the firing is burning. Ralph might tell a story while he cooks.
The smell of the broth is the first wonderful phase of the soup making process. While that is cooking, Ralph is getting the potatoes and green beans ready and rolling the meatballs. I didn't want to watch him too much. If the recipe is to remain a legend then only certain people know how to make it, right?
The best part is sharing a meal with your loved ones
We usually set up the kitchen island as a buffet. The soup is deconstructed and you build your own bowl. I love that. When the broth is strained, Ralph plucks out the carrots and puts them in a bowl. The potatoes are still in the pot they were boiled. The beans are... somewhere, if he chose to use them this time. We anxiously gather around and start to assemble our bowls.
When food is incredibly delicious, eating is the priority and things get quiet around the table. Did you ever notice that? Ralph's soup has this effect on people. It's so good it silences you. Then a mmmmm or a groan emerges from the table to signify it's so delicious you can't speak. It's not like any soup I've ever tasted. It is rich and creamy but not in a heavy way.
I hadn't eaten Ralph's German Meatball Soup in years, but I was thinking about it a lot. And recipes are meant to be shared and celebrated, right? So I reached out to Ralph, who now lives in Thailand, and asked if I could make his Amazing German Meatball Soup for my food blog. Of course he said yes!
So a special thank you to Ralph for so many amazing years of eating your legendary meatball soup. Now I know how to make it and I can share it here for others to try. And for those of you reading this who may have a memory of Ralph making this soup, please feel free to share in the comments below. Mahlzeit!