Philippe's mother, like many other home cooks, started her soup with a rustic beef stock. ("You must have a beef leg bone," one friend told me, who insisted that the opportunity to suck the marrow is part of the pleasure of the soup.) Into the broth generally go marinated, seasoned beef; loads of garlic, onions, and other aromatics; and malanga, taro, yams, or other starches. After some time, cabbage, pasta or rice, and the cooked and pureed joumou, or squash, is added. The variety of choice is kabocha, a green mottled, squat pumpkin whose nutty, bright orange flesh flavors, colors, and thickens the soup.