As a creative person, I use lots of artistic ways to de-stress. For example, last night I jammed out on my guitar before going to bed, even though it was already after 11 PM, because I knew I needed to do something creative before attempting to sleep. (Otherwise my brain would race for another two hours with some interesting idea, concept, or movement.)
Today, after taking my Latin midterm, I decided I needed to cook. Cooking is another way that I sometimes de-stress. So, I spent an hour or two making a delicious broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot soup. As I was pouring in the cheese and stirring, I was reminded of my very first soup adventure.
Whenever my parents would leave the house, they would hire a babysitter to watch me. This went on for several years until I was about nine or ten years old. I don’t remember if this particular night was my first night home alone, but it certainly wasn’t my first time cooking alone. (“Alone” meaning the most basic access to the stove with close adult supervision. No knives.)
Back in those days, I loved canned soup. The grocery store isle with the rows of Campbell’s soup flavors alighted a spark in my heart. Tomato soup, potato soup, mushroom soup–I had become an expert on the subject. You grab a sauce pan. You use a spatula to dispense the concentrated, gelatinous goodness into the pan. You turn up the heat. You grab the milk from the fridge (not the water, because milk gives it better flavor). You fill up the can with milk, and splash it into the pan. Then you stir and you stir and you stir and finally, the two ingredients become one and you ladle that perfect marriage into your bowl. (As a child, I thought a “bowl” of something meant filled to the brim. This could be why I rarely spill things as I walk.)
Back to my parents leaving the house for the evening. I asked if I could make soup for myself, and they trusted me to not burn the house down doing so. (I will put your mind at ease right now: I did not burn down the house.) They said goodbye, kissed my forehead, and pulled out of the driveway.
The second they were out the door, I put in a movie. I honestly have no idea what movie it was, but I’d gather it was probably a Narnia flick or Ella Enchanted. Then I skipped back to the kitchen to make my soup.
I followed the instructions to a tee. Then, because my parents weren’t home, I realized, hey. I could put cheese in this soup. (Children’s additions to manufactured product don’t always end well.) Potatoes and cheese taste good together. So, I opened up the fridge, opened up a pack of shredded cheese, and put some in the pan.
Less of a canned soup expert probably would have sprinkled the cheese onto the served bowl and then, perhaps, microwaved it to make it melty. But I knew better, obviously.
Some interesting part of the movie caught my ears, and I left the stove to watch. I don’t know how long I stood or sat there, but I believe some sort of…burning smell drifted to my nose.
I scrambled back to the kitchen to stir my soup, when I realized that something was very wrong. As I tilted the pan to catch a glimpse of the bottom, I saw a weird, bubbly, burnt mass.
As it turns out, dear reader, the canned soup expert was not quite as educated on cheese. Because the soup wasn’t warm enough to melt the shredded cheese, it drifted to the bottom and effectively burned.
I believe it also ruined the taste of the soup itself.
I desperately tried to scrub the pan. I must have done an alright job, as we still use that sauce pan to this day.
That is the tale of my cheesy potato soup. I am happy to report the following:
- I no longer prefer canned soup to that made from scratch.
- I now possess the skill to melt cheese into soup on the stove.
- I can be left home alone without disaster striking.
Now, I think I’ll go enjoy a little bit more of my broccoli-cauliflower-carrot combo deal creation.