Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Soup Gene and the Humble Pie

My esteemed brother once told me I 'must have inherited the soup gene from Dad'. In retrospect, this could have been a polite way of letting me know I had broth in my moustache, but I prefer to think of it as a regular old compliment: Dad makes good soup and, via the glory that is genetic inheritance, I also make good soup.

I'm a big proponent of soup. One of the benefits of soup (aside from its being cheap, nutritious, and delicious) is that it is an excellent way to use up extra vegetables. Today, for instance, I noticed I had some lovely fall veg languishing in the fridge - sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, onions and garlic. Add those to our lovely homemade soup stock, et voila! Soup. M'mm, better still, add a hint of curry flavour and puree the lot for a spicy, fragrant, thick soup that would go just great with some tender, flaky biscuits. Soup gene indeed! Biscuit gene, too! Ol' Dad would surely be proud.

So maybe I've gotten a bit cocky with soup. Really, who needs a recipe when you've got a Soup Gene? Sometimes nature just dominates the hell out of nurture.

I pictured in my mind's eye a soup with a rich, orange hue, subtly hinting at its high nutritional value while simultaneously appealing to children, who, on seeing the soup, would think of friendly things like tabby cats and jack-o-lanterns, and not at all of unfriendly things like fibre (eww!) or antioxidants (ewww!). Such are the pleasures of a well-crafted soup.

After about an hour of chopping, simmering, stirring, and yelling at the kids to play nicely and quit screaming and if you slam the door one more time I'm going to lose my mind! the soup was finally done. (And so was I.) Unfortunately, somehow my carrot-sweet potato-cauliflower-curry blend didn't turn out the anticipated warm orange hue. It turned out... sortof green. And not the sort of green that makes one think of friendly things like gummy bears and leprechauns, or even relatively unfriendly things like green beans or broccoli. Instead, it turned the sort of green that gave me the disturbing sensation I was stirring a giant cauldron of fresh baby crap.

(Bottle, not breast.)

Small Fry took one look at his soup and said, "No way, lady, do I look like I was born yesterday? Get me some pizza."

Medium Fry took one look at her soup and, having been on the earth for 7 1/2 years longer than her little brother and therefore possessing a somewhat greater awareness of the tipping point at which her mother might actually lose her mind, said half-heartedly, "M'mm, this sure looks like good soup, num-num-nums! Eat your soup!"

Honestly, it tasted delicious - spicy and delectable, just like I thought it would. But it looked like such complete swill that even I couldn't stomach it.

We snacked on jam and biscuits until the pizza arrived.

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