Diets have become so varied that I want to make a basic chicken soup and offer add-ins at the table. Is this ridicules?

I'd really like a list of possible add-ins that can be prepared separately to make everybody, from the Asian to the Brit happy, while the simply ill are comforted. THANKS!

  • Posted by: MsM
  • July 30, 2022


MMH July 30, 2022
Another option is to serve a Chinese hot pot and serve with all the accompaniments.
Nancy July 30, 2022
There are different approaches.
OTOH, 702551 is right that you can't please everyone, and the home cook is not required to be someone's mother or restaurant, catering to every taste.
OTOH, Lynerage has a nice approach with her several ideas of what to include.
I fall more in the second camp.
Maybe set up a buffet-style arrangement, fewer & lighter for an appetizer course, more and heartier for a main.
As for managing hot soup stays hot. Either have your guests assemble their choices in a bowl, then you ladle hot broth on top. Or have them assemble everything & you zap it in the microwave.
As for what to avoid, there are lists of most common allergies, and you can look at the diets your friends are on, so not to mix the foods they want to avoid.
Here are a few lists (assembled from experience, different recipes, and the British love of Marmite). Enjoy!

1. Aromatics – onion, scallion, garlic, lemon grass, chilies, lime wedges. Some can go in the soup, some can be fried and used as crunchy toppings.
2. Carbs–dumplings, noodles (long, short or stuffed like ravioli), rice or other grains.
3. Crunchy toppings – vegetable chips, croutons, crispy bacon, frico.
4. For the Brits – all I can think of that’s different from the main list are HP Sauce & Marmite.
5. Fresh herbs or light vegetable toppings – dill, parsley, cilantro, mint, Thai basil, bean sprouts.
6. Meat – roasted or poached chicken, shredded.
7. Pastes – chili, curry, tikka masala or tomato.
8. Sauces or liquids–Worcestershire, soy or teriyaki, one or more hot sauces, Thai peanut sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, coconut milk.
9. Vegetables – celery, root vegetables, mushrooms
lynerage July 30, 2022
I have done something very similar. A basic recipe that has a good flavor and then had add-ons. For example, only using the minimum of onion, then having extra onion for those that liked heavier onion. That is from my daughter that wasn't a fan of onions at the same meal as my mother that loved onion sandwiches! lol

As for what add-ons for chicken soup? Parsley, cilantro, ginger, rice, noodles, red paper flakes, chili peppers, bell peppers...I could go on.

I would suggest thinking about the people and what they like (onions for my mom). Or look at other recipes for ideas.

I hope this helps!
702551 July 30, 2022
It's really not for us (random Internet commenters) to say whether or not it's ridiculous. That judgment is for those who will join you at your dinner table. Ultimately that's whom you are to please, not readers on some anonymous Q&A forum.

Sure, you can boil a chicken in water and offer a wide variety of condiments/additions like a buffet. How do you feel about that? Does it glow warmly like you put a lot of effort into it? That there is a notion of hospitality, generosity and above all personal care?

A lot of diners seem to be under the impression that it's their mother slaving over the stove to make their favorite meal. Do you want to play mom for everyone sitting at your dinner table?

Just remember that no one can please everyone all the time. This pertains to everything in life, not just at the dinner table.

At some point you will need to concede that some people will walk away happier from your dinner table than others. Every cook needs to deal with this a certain extent whether they are cooking for family members, friends, themselves, and/or paying customers.

Personally, I would look at the guest list first and cull out diners with substantial dietary preferences/restrictions and invite them to another meal at a later date where I can properly focus on their specific constraints rather than subject a wider audience to this distraction.

Another time-honored and practical option would be to turn the event into a hosted potluck. I'd offer a couple of dishes and invite everyone to bring something of their own. At least that way everyone has at least one dish that they like.

It's really your call how you approach this situation. There is no one right way to do this.

Best of luck.
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