This is not part of your regularly scheduled programming but here it is. Today has been a day full of accidents. I sliced open my thumb, mistook a cucumber for a zucchini, and made blue soup. That’s right, blue soup. Not my proudest achievement but something that I have done nonetheless. I decided to write this blog post as more catharsis for myself than anything else, but feel free to keep going because I think it’s really important to be exactly as I am in real life on this blog and that includes all the mistakes and accidents that I, as a twenty year old college student, seem to be making all the time. I’m lucky to have a space where I can reflect on my cooking fails like this and am grateful for it in this moment. Let’s start with some background on how I got here before we get to the story of my blue soup adventure.
This summer, I tried to turn my life into a force for positive change and I am trying to keep that going. I researched with a group that works on food systems and I read a lot of literature on how food affects both our bodies and our environment in very tangible ways. Armed with my new knowledge, I set out to become a more eco-friendly consumer! I tried to cut back on the fast fashion and tried to consume in a more “mindful” manner. That meant trying to source my food more locally to reduce carbon emissions and also to encourage local production of the necessities of daily life. While this was easier at home in CA where I had the support of my mother, I decided to try and carry that attitude into my life here in Baltimore. I gamely signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Box which is a contract with a local farm to receive their produce at a very reasonable price. It’s meant to incentivize local agricultural production which I am happy to do! As a college student on a budget, I went for their “ugly” share which is the least pretty but still very yummy produce. So today I got my CSA box and was super excited to dig into whatever produce I had been given.
This begins the story of the infamous Blue Soup. It’s a funny one and I laughed and cried and laughed a little bit more during this entire soup saga. I started this soup adventure around 5:30pm today with vegetable prep. I used the Garlic, Fennel, and Potato Soup Recipe from the New York Times Cooking section and this require quite a bit of chopping and peeling and dicing and slicing. So I passed the time on a video call with my childhood friend and chopped my little heart out. I got all the ingredients together and realized that the soup recipe called for cheesecloth to enclose some herbs that were meant to flavor the soup but not go into the final product. Being the resourceful human that I am, I hit up the internet for recommendations on what I could use instead of cheesecloth. Amongst these recommendations were clean nylons! In my mind, nylons are the same as regular stockings and I have plenty of those! So I selected my least loved and cleanest pair of BLACK stockings and tied the herbs up in it and tossed it into the soup. With not a care in my mind, I let the soup simmer for 45 minutes with the stocking herb-bouquet in it.
I finally removed the soup from the heat and started to puree it but after the first batch, I noticed that the soup was an odd color. It was BLUE!!! Now I may be newer to the world of cooking than to baking but I am very sure that blue is not the right color for any type of food. I was tearing my hair out at what could have gone wrong and remembered the BLACK stocking that had been simmering in that pot for forty five whole minutes. I definitely feel like a fool at the moment. I had messed up not only my lunch for the next few days, but also wasted several pounds of good food.
As I was cleaning up the mess from the soup debacle, I was thinking about how to frame this story. Would it be something uplifting about learning from your mistakes? I’ve certainly learned that I need a much better substitute for cheesecloth than my black stockings or that sometimes you just need to cough up the cash dinero for cheesecloth. Should this be a sad post? I’m certainly pretty upset right now. But I’m also usually my own worst critic. I’ll probably be upset at myself for this for a few days before I can even try to laugh at myself. In the end, I just decided to be honest because honestly, it’s a pretty funny mistake to make, even if it seems that the cost is hefty. I experiment with recipes all the time and it’s hard when they don’t go perfectly every time, but that’s just how life is. Some days, it isn’t easy but we can keep going. I think this post is more about reminding myself that I am okay and that things will be okay even if this seems like the biggest culinary catastrophe that could have happened. This is a blip and I owe it to myself to keep experimenting and enjoying the kitchen. Trying to brush off mistakes or failure is not easy and has always been something that I’ve struggled with. I’ll ruminate on my mistakes for much longer than they merit and I continue to strive to be kinder to myself when I do mess up. The next time I fail, I hope I can treat myself as I would treat a friend and be encouraging and uplifting. I would never disparage a friend if they made a mistake like this and I owe myself the same courtesy even if it’s easier said than done.
And if you’ve made it to the end of this long post, you get the wonderful prize of getting to see my blue soup. Personally, I think it would make an excellent halloween decoration but I’m not sure if it’ll stay good until then.