Thursday, 18 June 2009

Hot soup in winter

should be comfort food so I accepted the two small tubs with alacrity. Jeff, the local greengrocer, was asking me to try them out.
Jeff and I have been friends ever since I wrote a letter to the state newspaper pointing out how a greengrocery should be run...head for Jeff and take a look I said. I meant it too. Jeff's shop is a work of art...not surprising he has a degree in Fine Art. The old, pre-shopping centre fire, shop was pretty good but he went as far as to talk to me about the layout of the new one. "Cat you have a degree in psychology and you know about food give me some help here." He did not really need it. He has an instinctive understanding of how these things work...neat mounds of seasonal fruits in an ever varying display along the front. The staples in easy access locations. Labels which say, "Local grower" wherever he can. The shop is ultra clean and always tidy. It is colourful. There is no irritating commercial radio in the background. The staff are friendly and know a lot of their customers by name because people keep coming back.
Jeff has has to expand his lines and services to keep up with the competition. He sells salads and nuts. There are free range eggs. Various dips and sauces are in the cold cabinets. Real olive oil and other rarer oils appear - and disappear just as rapidly as the customers queue up.
So I was more than willing to try the soup. "One for you and one for your father" he told me.
Last night I emptied the neat little containers they came in and gently heated them. They looked good. Pumpkin, coriander, ginger, chilli and garlic I thought to myself.
I had made bread with a fairly heavy concentration of rye flour, sunflower seeds, pepitas and walnuts. We would have fresh bread and the soup as a light meal.
The soup was inedible. I am not sure what I will say to Jeff this morning. There was so much chilli in it that it was impossible to taste anything else. Dad and I both quite like 'hot', indeed Dad enjoys a curry that would have most older people pushing the plate away, but this was too hot to taste. It burned the mouth.
Sadly I poured the remains into the compost bucket. It will not be wasted. We may yet get a mildly chilli flavoured tomato or bean. I took out the broccoli soup I had made the day before, heated that and we drank that instead.
I will use my time pedalling up to the shopping centre this morning to think of a nice way of telling Jeff that yes, hot soup is comfort food in winter but not quite that hot please.

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