Midterms and mushrooms

My midterms were actually pretty fun. I missed a number of points—made a mistake in one formula, forgot to mention something in my answer to another question—but I think I did reasonably well.

To celebrate (or to console myself if the midterms had been worse), I decided to have mushroom soup today.

Mushroom soup is one of my age-old comfort foods. Whenever I was sick, either Auntie Nica or Yaya tore open a Knorr packet of instant cream of mushroom soup and prepared a deliciously unhealthy snack. It was bland enough to soothe an upset stomach and yet tasty enough to cheer me up, laden with sodium and other savory unsavories. I was five and I didn't care about sodium. Even when I was fifteen and making myself soup, I still didn't care. After all, mushroom soup was mushroom soup was mushroom soup. It was yummy.

One packet made five or six servings of mushroom soup, mind you, so mushroom soup was something I ended up either inflicting on other people or consuming all by myself. I always made it with less water than indicated, preferring a thick, creamy soup bordering on salty. Ah, mushroom soup.

So I decided to give mushroom soup a try. No Knorr packets around, so I had to figure out how to do it from scratch. I'd seen my sister prepare real mushroom soup before, but that was a major production—as my sister's cooking tends to be. She had bowls, blenders, and more kinds of mushrooms than I'd even seen. I couldn't even scrounge up enough milk or cream to follow the recipes I found on the Net.

I threw my hands up and decided to wing it. Here's how you can do that too.

  • 1. Melt a chunk of butter in a pot.
  • 2. Peel and chop garlic. Throw garlic in.
  • 3. Chop mushrooms. Throw them in too.
  • 4. Wait until mushrooms have had time to soak up buttery goodness.
  • 5. Add water to barely cover mushrooms.
  • 6. Remember that most recipes call for chicken stock. Shake a lot of instant chicken powder

    into pot, stir.

  • 7. Wonder what the flour in most recipes does. Throw a couple of pinches of that in, too.
  • 8. Boil until you feel confident that things are mostly cooked, and the water kinda tastes like mushrooms.
  • 9. Be pleasantly surprised that it tastes somewhat familiar.

See? That's why cooking is always so exciting. You never know what you're going to get. And yes, I _so_ need to learn a lot about technical writing...

I paired the mushroom soup with another impromptu dish: chicken nuggets salad. Lettuce, chicken nuggets (from the huge frozen bag I bought late August; nearly done!), and finely chopped tomatoes, onions, carrots, and green peppers, dressed with some barbecue sauce.

It turned out pretty well, even considering that this is Day 3 of having the tomato-onion-carrots-green-pepper thing. I made the mix for pitas and I've been using it all over the place, thrilled that I've finally found a way to sneak veggies into my diet.

I'm getting somewhere. My desperation food used to be scrambled eggs and rice. I didn't know how to cook an omelette; it always ended up getting scrambled. Now I can whip up something that looks reasonably familiar _and_ makes me happy I didn't go out to eat... =)

Whee! I _might_ just manage to finish the head of lettuce before it goes bad. On the other hand, though, I've resolved never to buy cheap bananas again. They ripen very quickly and all at the same time. You know what I _really_ need? A bunch of bananas whene one banana ripens per day. I think I'll stick to mandarins for my fruit choices, or try out some of the other stuff. What's good in November?

Ooh. Must figure out what to do with this cute little minipumpkin I bought...