Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soup Nazi?

It has happened.  We have had our first tiff.  And it was over a request for hamburger soup, if you can believe that.  As someone who rarely, until recently, cooked, I have more than my share of top-shelf kitchen accoutrement courtesy of my best friend Christopher’s culinary prowess and former position as manager of a Sur La Table.  For those not in the know, SLT is like Williams-Sonoma.  For those readers who are still in the dark, I always referred to SLT as a hooty-tooty Wal-Mart for kitchen crap.  Maybe I am more country than I thought?  Like any good Southern Baptist, the next sound will be that of a disconcerting truth being vanquished.  It’s like extra cheese on a casserole; bad for you in the long run, but oh so pleasant right now.
Even though I am not a gourmand by anyone’s definition, I felt I was reasonably equipped to take on most any cooking request, this side of risotto.  I mean, I have a small copper pot solely to melt butter.  Yes, Virginia, those chef people ARE crazy.
Anyway, my Dad was visiting me at my office, waiting for his doctor’s appointment and stated, out of the blue, that he wanted to make hamburger soup.  When I asked the day he planned for this event, he said, “Tonight.”  I asked what he needed to make this soup and he rattled off a list of ingredients that were familiar enough to me to know that I had exactly none of them in my home.
So, I pulled out my trusty list making tools and began quizzing him on what he needed and informing him that if he wanted to make this soup tonight we would be eating later than usual as the most important ingredient for soup was a “soup pot”, which I do not possess.  Based on his description, the only person that would have one that size is a witch doctor from Scooby-Doo.  He pretty much described a stainless steel 1977 Caprice Classic station wagon with “hannels on the side so I won’t burn myself”.
I also informed him that I also did not own a ladle, slotted spoon, 4 cans of Veg-All or a container of salt.  After he stared at me with a mixture of condescension and pity, I made another error.  When I attempted to sway him to use ground turkey instead of ground beef, as it would be better for him, he looked at me with a look of horror that can only be described as akin to those Republicans make when they realize that poor people and minorities actually vote.
He said, savoring each word like the contraband M&Ms I found in his room. “I. WILL.  NOT.  PUT.  TURKEY.  IN.  MY.  HAMBURGER.  SOUP!”  Then hamburger it shall be.  He has made a number of dietary changes since he’s been here.  We’ve cut out most sugar and salt and almost all fried foods.  We have also eliminated soda and he’s lost 11 pounds in 2 weeks!  I should have my own show, people.  Start the on-line campaign.
And I know I should have left well enough alone, but I’m not afraid to nudge a little further if it’s for the greater good.  I’ll re-create the conversation ver batim, which is Latin for “only a twerp would remember a conversation word for word”.
“If you want to use hamburger, then you at least need to reduce the number of crackers you eat with it.” 
                “Your doctor said to reduce your carbs.”
                “What’s carbs?”
                “Well, bread for one.”
                “Crackers aren’t bread.”
                “Yes, they are.”
                “What do you mean how?  What do you think crackers are?”
                “Crackers are crackers.  They’re not bread.”
                “Are you kidding?”
                “Well, I guess you learned that in college?”
                “What are you talking about?  Everybody knows crackers are bread.”
                “I don’t.”
                “That may be, but they are and you eat too many of them.”
                “How many is too many?”
                “You should have like 6 or 7 with your soup.  The saltines you like are about 10 calories each.”
                “6 or 7!?!  I can eat that many putting the soup in my bowl.”
                “I know.  That’s why you’ve got this right here,” I said poking his belly, which he hates because he is hyper-ticklish.  Seriously, I should film him and post it on YouTube. 
                “Just forget it.  I don’t even want soup anymore.”  And then he made as dramatic an exit as you can make while riding in an electric wheelchair with the speed set on “turtle”.
                Cut to me buying the above-mentioned items.  He’s making the soup tonight.  I’ll let you know how it tastes. 

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