Dom Stroud goes toe-to-toe with a tinned adversary…
There are multiple things about soup that I don’t get on with. I’ve never been a fan of the stuff for various reasons, but it usually comes down to soup being a bottom-of-the-barrel, last-resort option. Leftovers? Make soup. Nothing left in the fridge? Have a tin of soup. If it’s such a great dish, why is it always last?
Below I’ve outlined some of my top reasons as to why I dislike the stuff, and why, in the time of year that diets reign, I urge you not to reach straight for the soup.
1) It’s baby food
For the first six months of your life you’re restricted to eating nothing but beaten-up pulps, purées and liquids. This is a time when you struggle to sit up, comprehend, or, well, do anything much at all. So, now you’re all grown up, with the ability to actually chew your food, why go back to tucking into a puréed dinner?
For the record, I don’t much care for smoothies, sorbets or frozen yoghurt either – the latter especially being, to me, another pants attempt at healthification at the expense of flavour. If I’m looking for something refreshing, I prefer the double whammy of an iced coffee.
2) You don’t feel full after eating it
Most soups amount to around 300 calories for a full serving, which isn’t very much at all when you consider an egg and cress sandwich will give you more in the way of sustenance.
Keep in mind that I am talking about just the soup here. If you’re all for dunking some glorious, fresh, buttered bread into your potage, consider that you’re en route to a good sandwich. If you have to have a bread supplement to fill up, I think you’re cheating.
3) It’s good for you when you’re ill
There’s no denying that soup is an excellent way to get a lot of goodness into you, and fast. Soup can be wonderfully nutritious, packing in loads of vitamins with few calories and little fat. This is essential for when you’re under the weather and couldn’t easily take in a plateful of ratatouille or an equally vegetable-laden dish but still need to keep your strength up.
In other words, when you’re ill, you’re more than likely going to have soup for quite a few meals. Which begs the question: why would you want to eat it when you’re feeling fine? After all, if you eat it all the time, you’ll be really sick of it (no pun intended) by the time you’re actually ill.
4) It’s the backbone of so many rubbish diets
Soup has also been recognised for its healthy status in the dieting world. Enter such bobbins like the cabbage soup diet, which involves eating nothing but slush for a whole week – no thanks. Other soup-diet practitioners proffer such advice like adding healthy fats to your soup, like olive oil, to help stave off hunger for longer, and to add particular herbs and spices to aid your metabolism. What I’m reading is ‘add flavour! You’re eating nothing!’
So, what to have instead? Well, I’d much rather go for a nice dish of stuffed tomatoes than some tomato soup. You can lob almost anything in those bad boys and it turns out well. In particular, you might want to try some melted mozzarella and basil, or whip up a light risotto filling. You can top it with some breadcrumbs for a tasty way to vary the texture, too.
To those who stand by the argument of vegetable soup being the perfect way to use up leftover potatoes or the random carrot you forgot to use in your Sunday dinner, I say to you: casserole. Put those veggie loners in a gravy bath at 180°C and you’ll be rewarded with a warming treat.
Finally, for fans of meaty soups, keep in mind that you’re boiling your way to the bottom of the bone to get what you want. You’ve already had the really good bits; I say put the leftovers in a sandwich with an appropriate condiment and leave it at that.
Are you on team soup or do you share Dom’s dislike of a liquidy lunch?