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Chill Out!
Cold Soups for Hot Days

Chill Out! <br>Cold Soups for Hot Days
Text by Kristina Held / photo by Tim Hussey

THE MESSY APRON PROVIDES US WITH EDIBLE AIR CONDITIONERS

It’s mid-July, and saying “it’s hot outside” is the biggest understatement going. You’ve tried fanning yourself, turning the air conditioner to lower and lower temps, a cold shower, and have likely lingered in front of the open refrigerator door under the guise of looking for a snack. Let’s add one more option to your list of ways to beat the heat, a solution you’ll find that works like a charm and is plenty delicious to boot: The Messy Apron’s cold soups.

Cat Hollen, the woman who dons the messy apron, was born and raised right here in the Lowcountry. She has fond memories of splashing around in the ocean all day, only to be dragged inside, “kicking and screaming, of course,” for afternoon snacks. No predictable cookies and milk for Cat, instead she headed straight to her grandmother for garden-fresh cucumbers, onions, and white vinegar—a snack she loves to this day.

Simple preparations, such as her beloved snack, from her parents and grandparents engendered a passion for cooking and feeding others. Cat has been working in the food and beverage industry for years, and this year marks her third year as a food vendor at the downtown Charleston farmers market. She sells cold soups, salads, and sandwiches, all creatively crafted with local produce and ingredients. She loves taking all the incredible local fruit and veggies and “putting them together in a way that doesn’t occur to everybody.” This attitude can be seen in her heirloom pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, and coconut milk soup, as well as her roasted local peach with cantaloupe, goat cheese, and cayenne chili soup. I have been known to eat just about anything with goat cheese on it, and that second soup of hers is a dream come true for the likes of me.

A down-to-earth, casual, and humbly appreciative approach to cooking and experimenting make Cat and The Messy Apron a true treasure in the Charleston culinary scene. Her cold soups sound like the perfect remedy for impossibly hot days when one can’t bear the thought of anything warmer than an ice cube for lunch. I know I’ll be happily feasting on these delights all summer.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
from Cat Hollen of The Messy Apron in Charleston, SC

 

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