I was nineteen and married for less than a year when my husband took me to New York for a Clergy Laity Conference. The “wives” were sent off to a luncheon being held in the penthouse apartment of the Hotel Pierre, sponsored by one of New York’s most prominent Greek socialites. I should have realized that my day was off to a roaring start when I awoke with an eye infection. Being just a little vane, I forced my contact lens into my tearing eye and started to dress for the luncheon. That’s when I noticed the oil spot on my red suit that I made on my old Singer sewing machine. I had about one hour to get that spot out and to find a new pair of panty hose to replace the pair that I brought with me that now had a huge run going straight up my leg.
When I finally arrived, (via a private elevator) I landed smack in the middle of one of the largest foyers that I had ever seen. There I was, in all my glory, stained suit, no stockings, mascara dripping down my cheek into a room filled with beautiful (although much older….) women dressed to the nines. They were drinking champagne and I was desperately in need of a diet Coke. One of the guests noticed my eye and made it a point to bring it to my attention that my mascara was now somewhere just south of my nose. I was horrified and ran to the powder room in an attempt to get my act together. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t find the toilet. I looked for ten minutes and finally came to the conclusion that folks who lived in the Hotel Pierre just didn’t need the use of a toilet….
Mercifully, we were finally invited to go downstairs to a private dining room to eat our lunch. I figured I would eat and run and find my way to a pharmacy for panty hose and eye drops. The first course came and much to my delight, it was soup. Ah, soup…the very soul of comfort food. Soup to warm my heart and settle my nerves. I picked up my spoon and delicately blew away the heat so I wouldn’t burn my tongue. My first taste and don’t you know ~ it was ice cold! I couldn’t believe the chef would be so careless to make such a glaring mistake. I immediately turned to the woman seated next to me and whispered, “Someone should tell our hostess that the soup is stone cold!” I can still hearing her jewelry rattling, as she shook back her gorgeous (dyed) hair and exclaimed, “Aren’t you adorable! It’s Vichyssoise and it’s supposed to be cold!”
I don’t remember what we ate for lunch. Frankly, I don’t even know that I stayed for lunch. I think I found a powder room (with a toilet) and never went back. What I do know is that even to this day, I hate Vichyssoise. However, I love my Chilled Cream of Avocado Soup and I know you will too! Bon Apetit!
P.S. I was informed later that evening that the gorgeous cane chair that I had been sitting on in the powder room of the penthouse was in fact camouflaging the missing toilet….
Chilled Cream of Avocado Soup
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 cups Fage (Greek style) yogurt
Coarse salt and ground white pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper – diced
Jumbo lump crabmeat
Cut each avocado in half from top to bottom, following the contour of the pit in the center. Remove the pit and scoop out the avocado.
Puree the avocado in a food processor with 4 cups of the broth, the chili powder, lime juice and yogurt until very smooth. If the soup appears to be too thick, add more broth to correct the consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning to taste. Garnish the soup with the diced red pepper and a spoonful of the crabmeat.