Before you can cook something you must first prepare it by assembling, measuring and cutting the ingredients. In the case of soup begin with a cutting board, a knife, a heavy cast iron pot, a wooden spoon and an onion.
Guys if you’re new to cooking look at it this way. There’s a gear element to cooking that makes it very much a guy thing. I just said get a knife and cutting board. Here’s the opportunity to purchase and handle a lethally sharp instrument. Get a really good knife. Get the best possible knife for the job. If you really get involved with cooking soon you will need a whole kit of knives. It’s kind of like having a set of sockets or open-end wrenches, one for each job. You may be thrilled to find out that some Chefs keep their knives in real toolboxes.
For most kitchen work we prefer 10” inch utility chef knives with a stainless steel blade and a clean white polycarbonate handle. The brand is Dexter-Russell. Our choice of knife is not the common choice of most “gourmet” cooks. Most cooks with the money purchase fancy knives with triple riveted hardwood handles and hardened steel blades. The objection to this style is that they seem to get dull about as fast as any other knife yet they are annoyingly difficult to sharpen. In addition the steel is brittle, it chips and breaks easily and they often cost three times the price of a good utility grade Dexter-Russell knife.
Search for just the right cutting board. In a craft as simple as food preparation with only two or three key pieces of gear they should feel good to work with. We prefer a cutting board to be large in surface area but not in thickness, 24” square by ½’ thick and made of hardwood. Where is the satisfaction of paring a good chef knife through an onion and connecting with a rattling piece of plastic, nylon or Formica? Get a board with enough surface area on it so that you can cut and stack your food in little piles, like paint on a pallet. This way, when you’re ready to start cooking, you can hold the board over your pot and drop the ingredients into the hot pan in an orderly manner with the flick of that cool chef knife.
As for the soup pot I recommend finding a thick-bottomed six-quart, cast iron pot with a heavy lid. At home I use a cast iron “Dutch Oven” called the Drip Drop Baster. It comes down from my mother. If inanimate objects can have soul this is the soul of our kitchen. Cast iron cookware absorbs flavor, history and I feel it holds generations of love that have been cooked into it. For generations we have cooked food in it to heal the common cold and sooth stressed lives. It has frequently been carried, full of steaming soup, into homes as a source of comfort in tough times.