A Souper Supper
April 30, 2014
I’ve rediscovered a forgotten pleasure. A bowl of soup. It’s that simple, just a bowl of soup.
For me, soup had become something that I have from a packet. It is my lunchtime “staple” when I am too busy to actually stop. I may well have my WLR-approved packed lunch with me but sometimes when deadlines are looming I ditch the pre-prepared picnic in favour of a less time-consuming cuppa-soup. There are a selection of packets in my top drawer (all of them of the “slimmer” variety) and, as someone is always heading to put the kettle on, it takes no time whatsoever for boiling water and the contents of said packet to come together into a time-saving mug of something hot to sip at my desk.
My packets fall into two categories. Chicken-based or tomato-based. They are light in calories, low in fat, and quick to prepare. They serve their purpose. They are a simple quick fix. This also applies on those days when I have over-extended myself in terms of what I have eaten and drank.
Sometimes, despite my best efforts at planning and preparation, things don’t always stay on course. On the evenings that, having double-checked my intake, I discover that I don’t have quite the allowances left that I had hoped, yet again reach into the cupboard to hunt out a packet of chicken-or-tomato from the collection that I keep at home.
It became my default “soup setting” a handy handbag-sized WLR rescue product.
However last week I caught the end of a cookery programme and it made me realise that I had completely discarded soup for any other purpose than “damage limitation”. I thought back to my childhood and remembered coming home during the depth of winter (freezing cold after a twenty minute ride on a heater-less school bus) to find a big bowl of piping hot soup ready and waiting on the kitchen table.
Proper Pea and Ham. That was my favourite. Closely followed by Oxtail. Often accompanied by a thick slice of bread or topped with home-made croutons. It was divine. It would defrost even the coldest of insides; make the emptiest of tummies feel full; and was a comforting and comfortable meal. And like the porridge in the Three Bears it always seemed to be “Just Right”. Not too hot; not too much; not too thick; not too watery.
After watching the television I resolved to seek out proper soup and add it to my list of meals. A big bowl of broth made with great ingredients, full of flavour and texture and utterly delicious. Not the NASA-esque rehydratable packet of power version that I had unconsciously restricted myself to for far too long.
I went to the supermarket (or should that be ‘soupermarket’?) to see what was on offer. The choice was quite surprising. The selection along the “canned goods” aisle seemed endless... and whilst some of them sounded very tempting and much more hearty than I remembered, none of them really made my mouth water. I got to the end of the aisle to discover a refrigerator selection of soups. Cartons and plastic containers full of apparently “home-made” soup, again with a wide range of varieties to tempt me. But still they weren’t quite what I was looking for.
The answer to my dilemma came in the form of the farmers market in a nearby town which is held every Saturday morning. I hadn’t headed that way for a while and decided to do my weekly shop and drop in at the Farmers Market at the same time.
It was a great idea. There were stalls selling all manner of wonderful food, from some particularly strong (and exceedingly smelly) cheeses which I knew Lovely Husband would enjoy, to fruit cordials (you can never have too much elderflower in the house) and home made soup. Plastic beakers with hand written labels ranging from “stilton and broccoli” through to “carrot and coriander”... and my childhood favourite “Leek and Potato”.
I bought one of each of them. I did wonder if the stall holder might be able to give me some nutritional indications (like how much cheese and how much potato)... but she couldn’t really assist... so I shall have to rely on whatever I can find in my trusty WLR database (and double it to be on the safe side).
It won’t be an exact measurement. I won’t be able to log my calories and carbs to the accuracy of a two decimal points. But actually I don’t think that matters. There are two servings in each beaker. I shall have half at a time without croutons or bread. I shall have it in a beautiful china bowl, piping hot, and take my time enjoying it. It might not be sticking entirely to the “WLR code”, but I like to think that WLR is very much like The Pirates of the Caribbean, “they’re not so much rules as guidelines”... and I’m pretty sure bending the guidelines a couple of times a week to enjoy a healthy homemade broth won’t do too much damage in the long term...
Here’s to a “Souper” day for all of you.
With a Hug
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