I watch a lot of Food Channel. And full disclosure: I've really gotten into soups this past fall and winter; making them and eating them. Soup is one of those items that still isn't top of mind for me, so when I go out for a beer at my favorite restaurant, I have to consciously remember to ask what the soup of the day is.

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But back to the topic. One of my favorite shows on Food Network is "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". They put an assortment of their TV chefs/hosts and some people who I have no idea why they are famous, they put them on to talk about the best thing they ever ate in a specific category. (One thing that drives me crazy is that 90% of the places are either in New York or Los Angeles. What are the odds a place in Michigan ever makes the show?)

I'm not a chef or an "influencer" so I'll never be on this show, but I have eaten more than my fair share of food. And when I think about the best things I've ever consumed, right about at the top of this list is the mushroom soup at Malia, first in Marshall, then, in Battle Creek.

Sadly, Malia is now gone. The owner, Jeff Samson, and his wife retired, but the restaurant lives on in downtown Battle Creek as Kitchen Proper. (By the way, Malia is their daughter.)

We first discovered Malia when it was on the main block in downtown Marshall. A co-worker's wife knew the family and we went to dinner there. This was the early days of Foot Network, and what Jeff and his crew were presenting to us at the table was works of art, the kind of stuff you don't want to eat because it's too pretty - like desecrating a work of art. Don't worry, we got past that. But the first thing we ever ate at Malia was the mushroom soup. Thick and creamy and mushroomy. I lovingly said it was "heart attack on a plate."

Malia was literally the first place I ever went to for the soup. The food was outstanding, but the soup. Wow. Malia migrated from Marshall to downtown Battle Creek, and for a short, glorious time, Jeff had a section of store at the Felpausch on Beckley Road, and you could just buy the soup and take it home. Ahh, those were the days, my friend.

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