The Reluctant Chef
It’s New Year’s Eve? So tomorrow you start on your diet, right? OK, that’s probably a bit presumptive. It’s New Year’s Eve, so tomorrow I start on my diet. Today, I get rid of all the party food in the house, and one of the ways I do this is through soup.
You need to understand that I learned to cook as a student, when my ingredients were ‘whatever is being thrown away at the market’ and water. Despite now being many decades older, I’ve never seen any need to learn to cook any other way. You probably also need to understand that I hate cooking, and only do it in preference to starving.
There’s a reason why my characters live off supernoodles and pizza, and the most complicated cookery they ever attempt is throwing some mixed herbs, olive oil and parmesan on top of spaghetti (Finn from Trowchester Blues.) They all enjoy their food, but they enjoy it best when it’s cooked by someone else.
Have I lowered your expectations enough? Probably not. You probably still won’t believe I had the cheek to offer this as a recipe. But I did! Behold and boggle:
New Year’s Eve soup
Fry a chopped onion in a massive pan.
Take all your savoury leftovers (which you have been storing in the freezer for just this occasion) and roughly chop them. Throw them in the pan with the onions and fry the whole lot.
Add two pints of water. If you have any left over gravy, fling that in too. Otherwise, add a stock cube. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for about an hour.
Blend to smoothness with a hand blender.
Add things to make it taste better. Eg, soy sauce or cumin or paprika if it needs more depth, left over cranberry jelly and Christmas pudding if it needs more sweetness. Etc – whatever you have on hand.
If it’s too thin, add a couple of handfuls of lentils.
If it’s too thick, add water.
Tell yourself thank God that’s over. Now I can get back to something interesting, and have your last glass of wine for the year while contemplating what you’re going to write next.
Happy New Year! May it be full of good dinners you didn’t have to cook for yourself 🙂
ZAM mentioned that I probably share this method of cookery with the Saxons, who famously dismissed the entire art of the chef by declaring “I can boil what I need to boil by myself.” So I’m going to use that tenuous hook to tie this post in to The Reluctant Berserker, in which cookery also fails to play a prominent part in everyone’s lives.