Ahh, soup - is there anything more comforting on a cold winter's evening? Funny you should ask - because I've just spent the week consuming soup for lunch and dinner every day and I have to tell you that right now, a stale pretzel would be a decadent treat.
I should explain. After the holidays, having put on a couple of unwanted pounds, I decided to take them off - and I devised what I thought was a pretty clever plan to do so. I would make a giant pot of super-healthy vegetable soup at the beginning of the week and eat it at every meal but breakfast, because soup and coffee? That's just ridiculous.
Anyway, I especially thought my plan was so smart because all those veggies would surely protect me from all the nasty cold and flu germs AND I'd lose weight. Hello - get skinny and avoid the flu - win-win! At first, it was going pretty well - I am a decent cook, and my soup was pretty good. But I made two key mistakes: first, I added leftover pot roast for flavor. This might have been a good idea if the pot roast had not been slow-cooked to the point of shredding, so that over several hours in the soup pot, the beef no longer resembled meat but instead took on a slimy, hair-like consistency. I've heard of hair shirts, but hair soup? I can assure you, this is not a culinary trend to watch for.
My second mistake was making so very, very much of the stuff. I bought this giant plastic container to house said soup, and after Monday night's dinner, I carefully ladled the enormous stock pot of soup into the plastic - all smug as I pointed out to my husband several times how much soup we had for the week. (Note: he ate one bowl of it Monday night. That's it. Thanks, sweetie, way to take ONE BOWL OF SOUP for the team).
Now I like vegetable soup. But NOBODY likes vegetable soup that much. Nobody. You try eating the same goddamn soup every lunch and every dinner four days in a row. You will get tired of it, I promise. Every time I open the refrigerator, that plastic container leers at me from the door - I have grown to loathe it.
And I'm afraid of what will happen when it's finally empty (will it ever be empty?) - how will I get that orange veggie-rich film off the plastic? Will the last chunk of carrot and cabbage lodge in the container so I have to reach down into the scummy, greasy depths and pluck it out by hand? Will one of those awful beefy, hairy strands wrap around my wrists and try to suck me into the container? Maybe if I ignore it, the soup fairy will come and whisk it away to a place where people really, really LOVE vegetable soup. Like Luby's.
In all fairness, though, it must be said that the soup has resulted in a weight loss of three pounds. Because if all you eat is soup, you will get very, very hungry. And feeding your children (who wouldn't eat soup if their lives depended on it) will become a horrible, masochistic affair in which you glare at them over the eighth bowl of soup you've eaten this week and snap, "EAT YOUR DAMN DINNER!" They, of course, will ignore you as they casually, almost reluctantly eat a stray bite here and there of delectable-looking cheese pizza while laughing at the antics of Peppa Pig.
There is still a third of the container left. And the week is not yet over. I vowed earlier that I would "mix things up" over the weekend by adding rice to the soup, maybe some spinach. The only thing I want to mix now is a cocktail. A strong one, with enough booze in it to make me close my eyes and gulp down the last of that disgusting brew. I usually cook something special to watch The Golden Globes, but I no longer care about a fancy dinner, I just want to eat something that has an actual texture. Something that doesn't require a spoon. Something that won't, when I dip down my utensil, bring up a yucky-looking strand of brown that's sort of shiny and weird and makes me gag. At this point, I'd be fine with box wine and popcorn.
Just as long as it's not soup.