Soup, and grand theft small appliance


January 18, 2012 by 8junebugs

What’s the statute of limitations on stealing crap from your parents’ kitchen when you move out?

Nearly 15 years ago, I moved into my first apartment. As I left my dad’s house, I took with me everything in my bedroom, his our copy of the Gingras Family Marriages, and his immersion blender.

I cannot for the life of me recall why I wanted that blender. Was I still drinking Carnation Instant Breakfast (better blended than stirred, which is not to be confused with “good”)? Did I think moving in with a boyfriend meant late-night milkshakes? No idea.

I would like to note, though, that my dad (a) had an immersion blender 15+ years ago (although I don’t know why) and (b) is the primary source of any skill I have in the kitchen. Sure, it took me a while to get started and there was immeasurable influence from other families over the years, but my dad was the cook in my family (and KidBrother is a much more thoughtful, creative cook than I).

In the interest of fairness, my mom made better scrambled eggs. On the whole, though, she preferred bologna sandwiches and potato chips and left the roast beef to Dad.

Fifteen years later, that immersion blender, an early (earliest?) version of the unfortunately named Sunbeam Stickmaster, is a valued member of my kitchen collective and continues to perform valiantly. There was a time a few years ago when I thought it was not long for this world — it was a 15-year-old small appliance, after all, and I’d started making a lot of pureed broccoli soup. It seemed reasonable to plan for its replacement, but it’s still going strong.

This weekend, it handled:

Baked Potato Soup (Smitten Kitchen)
Graham calls this Potato Sludge, possibly because that makes it sound like junk food. I don’t care, as long as “Would you like me to make more potato soup?” continues to be answered with a “Fuck, yeah!” and he’ll eat it without toppings.

Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame (Smitten Kitchen)
Better without the sesame oil, to my taste, and Graham is not a fan (although he is to be commended for trying something so fantastically orange and smelly). A commenter on the original post substituted miso soup mix and soy sauce for the miso paste, and I did the same, because I didn’t care enough about miso to walk four blocks to the nearest Asian market. I’m pretty sure this was a one-time soup for me — it taught me that I like soups to taste more like the veggies I put in them than like an added flavor. Also that I prefer miso in small doses.

Chickpea-Tomato Soup with Fresh Rosemary (Orangette)
Seriously good. Molly describes this soup as part of her formulaic lunch, and I could eat this daily for a really long time. In fact, I just might…I certainly will this week. My only regret is that I didn’t have any cheese in the house with which to make a cheese bread.

(I didn’t take any pictures. Imagine, if you will, comforting rows of single-serving bowls in red, white, and orange.)

I wasn’t a fan of soup at all until a few years ago. I just don’t remember soup being worth the effort it took to eat it, maybe because soups and stews came out of cans in our household. I mean, my grandmothers made stews and those were awesome, but my parents came of age as the Campbell’s Condensed generation, the generation that tried to make cooking and baking easier and less time-consuming than it had been for their poor mothers. I mean, why peel potatoes — much less peel, simmer, and puree with other things — when you can just add water to some potato flakes?!

Which leads me, again, to wonder why the hell my dad needed a stick blender in the first place, but that’s water 15 years under the bridge.

(My generation may be noted for kickstarting the current foodie movement, once we had the cash to develop our palates, but we have our shortcuts, too. Bagged salads, pre-chopped ingredients, and technology are our time- and work-saving crutches; e.g., we’ll bake bread at home to avoid preservatives and HFCS, but we’ll damn sure use a breadmaker if we can get our hands on one.)

(Which is not an indictment, although I do still prep my own stuff most of the time. Mirepoix is the weekly exception. Thank you, Trader Joe’s, for elegantly, evenly chopped mirepoix.)

So I didn’t realize soup could be yummy until I experienced a decent minestrone and a truly top-flight lobster bisque. It took years for me to make soup at home, and I did so mainly to save money, eat healthfully, and avoid the terrifying amount of sodium in prepared soups.

Instead, I have a terrifying amount of soup-serving-sized storage containers.

Soup! It’s what’s for dinner. Lunch, too. Thanks, Dad!


One thought on “Soup, and grand theft small appliance

  1. Dev says:

    We just made a KILLER winter squash soup complete with homemade croutons, and ate it for 3 dinners and two lunches! Soup rocks! Especially as it gets chillier and rainy and the cozy factor kicks into high gear. 😉

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