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Around the corner from us in Tribeca years ago, there was a glorious neighborhood spot called Good Enough to Eat. Our version is long gone but there is still an outpost uptown. Of course, Downtowners never go uptown so …

The food was lovely and has been perfectly captured in the Good Enough to Eat Cookbook. This Split Pea soup is our favorite soup recipe, from any restaurant, from any cookbook. Anyplace, anytime. It’s a meal in itself and the cookbook says in Belgium they do just that: make a meal of this soup topped with toasted bread and accompanied by a beer.

I love the soup itself, but I do have some mixed feelings about Good Enough.

I was reading the menu one Sunday as we sat there.

“Look,” Suzen said, “it’s Tom Cruise!”

True enough, it was him, with the hair and a leather jacket. The entire room had gone quiet as if a Kennedy had entered. Every woman seemed to be leaning in her seat. Including Suzen. I liked Risky Business and Top Gun, but my God …

“What are you going to order?” I asked Suzen

“Look, it’s Tom Cruise.”

“I’m having the soup.”

“Look, it’s Tom Cruise.”

“He really is short,” I noted.

“Look, it’s Tom Cruise.”

I ate my soup. I don’t remember what Suzen had and I sure as hell don’t care what Tom Cruise ordered. Apparently, he could have had anything he wanted.


Split Pea Soup

Yield: 1 ½ cups


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ham hock or leftover ham bone
  • 1 pound dried split peas, washed and drained
  • 7 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound carrots, chunked
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Toasted bread for topping off


Sweat the onion, celery, and garlic in butter and oil 15 to 20 minutes, until soft. Add the ham hock or bone, peas, stock, sugar, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat 1 hour. Add the carrots and thyme and cook 45 minutes longer. Check for seasonings.

Serve hot, topped with toasted bread.

This soup freezes beautifully and makes an easy meal when you’ve had a busy day.

Source: Good Enough to Eat by Carrie Levin