Earlier today I shared a picture of part of my lunch – a cup-a-soup (leek and potato, for the record). A friend challenged me to write a blog about it.
I’m rarely one to turn down a challenge, so here we are.
But of course, this blog isn’t really about powdered soups in a mug, but what they represent: comfort and convenience.
Soup is one of my favourite foods. In fact, my favourite ice breaker question is to ask whether you’d rather give up soup or gravy. Forget Brexit, this is the question that really divides the nation.
I’d always go for soup. It’s a versatile meal for all occasions – fit for a banquet (Chinese or otherwise) or to dunk your sandwich in. The flavour options are endless – you can safely say you’ve not tried them all.
From chowder to broth and ramen through to bisque – soup covers it all.
Some of my favourite meals have started with, or even comprised solely of soup.
From the delicious, light pea and mint at Mathilde’s in Grasmere, to the rich, intense turnip broth at L’enclume, soup has filled a hole. The lobster bisque at the Cartford Inn was sublime, as was the hearty chowder at Wolf House at Silverdale.
While they were very different, they’ve all stuck in my mind.
Soup can be light and healthy, when you’re in the throws of your New Year’s Resolutions or it can be decadent – creamy, thick and warming to get you through the cold nights.
Soup’s the great leveller – anywhere worth its salt should do a good soup – be it a cafe, restaurant or football ground (anyone for Bovril?).
After all, it’s one of the easiest meals to cook. All you need is a few vegetables and some stock and you’re on to a winner.
But make a few tweaks or add a bit more and you can really elevate it. Things like chorizo or bacon can really lift a simple soup, and pulses or pasta can thicken a broth. Herbs can transform not only the flavour but also the appearance. And lets not forget that cream, well, cream makes everything taste better.
So cup-a-soup might not be at the fine dining end of the scale, but for simplicity, can it be beaten? I’m not so sure. It was certainly a fine partner for today’s ham sandwich.
That’ll do for me.
Here ends my short love story to soup.