Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Late lunch, reflections on Knorr, and the Garbage Fairy

Enough with the constant text, it's about time we had some more IMAGES on this blog, ne?

All right, I admit it, sometimes I make soup from a packet. So sue me.

This was actually an interesting little adventure, since the only English words on the packet were "Knorr Extra Hot & Sour Soup" and a little slapped-on ingredients sticker that was, shall we say, very casually translated (this packet apparently contains Calcium G1uconate and Paparika 01eoresin. Hmm). But it's not that difficult to follow the visual directions -- put some water on to boil, add the contents of the packet, cook for an indeterminate period of time, swirl in a beaten egg, and serve. How hard could it be, she asked foolishly?

Well, luckily it really did turn out to be almost foolproof. The "hot" in this hot & sour is a slow burn, but the "sour" means business -- the bits of cabbage in this soup are almost sauerkraut, they're so tart. It is, like most packet soups, far too salty -- there's my entire sodium intake for the day! -- but not bad. It could be improved by a little more water, replacing some of the cooking liquid with chicken stock, and some strips of cooked pork.

Actually, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Knorr Swiss company. Technically speaking, if they hadn't existed back in the early '60s, I might not be around at all. Back then, when my dad was a young missionary who didn't even know how to make toast, he kept body and soul together by a) relying on the kindness of church members for Sunday dinner and b) mixing together Knorr soup packets, which were cheap and easy to fix. If I remember right, his favorite concoction was a combination of Knorr's Oxtail (now called Tomato Beef) and Garden Vegetable. This kept him alive long enough to finish his mission, go off to college, meet my mom, and eventually marry and have a whole lotta kids. Thus my existence was secured.

Dad never did learn how to cook very well. At the height of his culinary skill, some time in the late '70s, his full repertoire was soup from a packet, soup from a can, hamburger patties, scrambled eggs (often cooked in the hamburger grease -- ergh) and toast. He might also have been able to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but I won't swear to it. But Mom's a great cook, so most of the time we were set.

Today I noticed that we seem to have a helper fairy in the house. I put up a sign saying "Garbage Day," and by the time I get up all the garbage and recyclables have been collected and are put out on the curb for the Sanipac people to take away. So many thanks to our Garbage Fairy... wait, he seems rather too manly to be called a "fairy." Perhaps "Capt. M the Rugged Garbage Elf?"


PG said...

Actually, being a salt lover I rather like the sound of this. I don't think our village shop will be stocking it though!

tlc illustration said...

Sounds yummy. My current fav soup packet is from Thai Kitchen - the "Lemon Grass and Chili" flavor. Add some meat and veggies and it's lunch!

Soozcat said...

Tara: Thai Kitchen makes some pretty good stuff. There's also a Thai company whose name I can't recall that makes the best tom kha paste for soup... I pick it up at the same place where I got the Knorr Hot & Sour packet. Can't make tom kha very often -- lots and lots of coconut milk, mmm, feel the arteries hardening -- but throw in chicken and mushrooms and baby corn and tomatoes and serve over jasmine rice... oh that's the stuff. It makes for an occasional indulgent supper.

Gretel: Hmm, maybe I should send you some, though I have to admit it's not the best soup from a packet I've ever had.