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Oct 17, 2011 01:21 PM

2nd Day Soup/Always Better

Made a big old bean soup yesterday. Tastes better today. But why? Surely there's a simple explanation as to why virtually all soups, stews, and tomato based sauces are better the second day. What happened overnight to the molecules? Somehow this even sounds backwards as yesterday the kitchen was filled with the heady smells of onions and garlic browning, ham hocks a-stewing where as today it just smells like over cleaner. But the soup STILL tastes way better!

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  1. Sam, there is a decent explanation here:
    I *love* second day food, including pastas, left over meats, everything. I remember a great joy from my parents' holiday party was the pickins the next day...which I joyously ate cold (not the soup, but pasta, kielbasa, little baby braciole).

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      I think chili is especially good the 2nd day.:-)

    2. Yah, the 2nd day effect is soup & stew magic. Someone pointed out to me that one can even put this to work on the first day by refrigerating, then reheating a batch. Never would have occurred to me, but it's brilliant. Well worth the extra step.

      1. pinehurst, thanks for the link... something I never *really* thought about... the "why" of it
        I make an Italian "wedding" soup every year for Thanksgiving and I have to make it at least one night ahead of time, otherwise it just doesn't taste right to me.
        hmm, now I know why!

        4 Replies
        1. re: cgarner

          My mother, and then subsequently my sister, would make split pea soup from scratch whenever we had a bone in ham. Everyone in my family learned to not even bother going near it the day it was made because we would quietly wait for the overnight magic to happen, it was a completely different soup after sitting a day or two.

          1. re: cgarner

            I have never had Italian wedding soup at T-Day, but I think it sounds FABULOUS. Rock on!

            1. re: pinehurst

              ... Thanksgiving was one of those "strange-american" holidays to my grandparents, they both moved here from Italy in their mid teens. When My grandfather arrived, his Dad picked him up in New York after inprocessing and told him he made it out just in time for the American holiday "Chicken Day"
              Thanksgiving menu at my Grandparents was Grandmom's Soup with the little meat balls, home made ravioli, and then you had your choice of meat balls sausage and roast turkey (no stuffing, that actually wasn't added till later in life) and then salad, and then fruit and then cannoli or Italian rum cake and coffee and some sambuca
              Grandmom knew it was supposed to be a 'feast' of some kind

              1. re: cgarner

                I hope your nonna remembered the vino, finocchio, castagne, and the stack of briscola cards. Perfect feast day.

          2. I agree. Something I made recently that was delicious, but BETTER the next day. Wild Rice Gumbo soup (sans the oyster floater of course).

            1. The only disagreement I have about 2nd day being better, is if you put noodles in the soup and let it cool. I find the noodles end up too mushy. If I'm making a noodle soup, I cook them separately in stock and then add them at the end of the re-heating. And then use the stock to thin the soup as it usually needs adjusting.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Sooeygun

                +1 on the noodles... and rice unless you're looking for a porridge.

                  1. re: Sooeygun

                    I forgot this rule the other day and put leftover chicken noodle in the fridge. The next day the liquid was almost gone and all that was left were engorged orzo.

                    1. re: EM23

                      Ditto anything else that will turn mushy or swell inordinately (AND turn mushy) when it is supposed to be crunchy or with some springiness (fresh vegetables meant to be crunchy, wontons, noodle/pasta additions, etc).