I just had one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long, long, time! And it was not unexpected. Now, the expectation of something really good is not an unusual thing for me – I think it’s one of the characteristics of an optimist. Besides, I live from meal to meal, fully expecting that my next meal may be something super special.
And sometimes it does happen – but then, it’s never unexpected.
What was it? Just a simple Asian soup – I can’t tie down its ethnicity any more than that, because it was one of those soups one puts together with bits and pieces on hand. But I must admit that the heart of this particular soup was the broth, and in this case the broth was one I picked up in our local Grocery Outlet(do you guys have these? They’re named well, cause they’re like an outlet store for groceries), and it was labeled, College Inn Culinary Broth, Thai Coconut Curry. It was in one of those quart size cardboard containers, which -for some strange reason I haven’t figured out- are always priced ridiculously low at Grocery Outlet – most are .99c. Why is soup in cans always priced out of sight, and these cardboard containers are not? If anyone knows the answer to this, please let me know.
And I guess a related question is, why has canned soup become so expensive. Frankly, I don’t buy a lot of canned soup because it’s just too damn easy to make – and make better – at home. It’s absurd that canned soup should be so expensive when soup is so easy to make at home. OK, I digress.
So I saw this stuff and immediately I thought, “Hey, this’d make a great Asian soup for lunch”, and I was right. Here’s what went into it: about a cup and a half of the broth, one half of a supposed single serving size of Udon noodles, a stalk of Chinese cabbage, sliced very thin, and one good sized spring onion, again sliced thin – I put all that in a pan to heat while I went to the freezer to get a handful of cocktail/salad shrimp (you know, the tiny ones), of which I keep a 5 lb bag in there for just such times as this – threw them in too, and when I saw a little heat smoke, I pulled it off the fire, and slipped it into a bowl. The Udon had come with a packet of what it called, Dry Flake, which were intended to be sprinkled on at serving time – so I did.
Delicious, … please let me repeat, delicious!
Now, let’s have some fun – let’s look at the label.
I should tell you that College Inn (did you know that there is/was a real College Inn? Yeah, I was there once.) is introducing a new line of broths, Culinary Broths, to be precise, of which this is one. Not a good sign that this is showing up in Grocery Outlet, usually a source for all products that have failed to make the cut. Shame! For this one was actually good – maybe even better than good – and frankly, College Inn Chicken Broth in cans was always, to me anyway, almost tasteless it was so weak! But this stuff I loved.
Oh yeah, the label – OK, from the top, Calories 20, Calories from Fat 0g. This is both good and bad news. The good of course is that here is a broth that tastes splendid, and it only has 20 calories for a cup! Are you kidding? A bouillon cube has more than that, right? The bad part is that it has no fat either, and fat is usually what makes food taste good. Where then is all this flavor coming from? (OK, brace yourself, you know what’s next don’t you?)
Cholesterol 0mg. Well, yeah, if it has no fat, it has no cholesterol – or it the other way around? I get confused with this stuff – Whatever. Here’s the dagger, Sodium 1010mg a serving! What? How can anything have that much sodium? Does pure salt have that much sodium?
Boy, that’s really bad news! And I was loving this stuff too. And that’s really the only bad part of the label too – the rest is all of the “natural” stuff! And no MSG – Damn.
But, … you know what? I’m thinking that if you went on the internet and made a master list of all the things that “somebody” said was bad for you in some way, when that list was complete, I’m betting that they’d be nothing left in the world for you to eat! OK, you say there are too many crackpots and idiots on the internet, and no one should listen to them, how about we just listen to “medical science” then? I contend you’d still have almost nothing left to eat. Let’s face it folks, we have little reason to trust the word of any one “expert” – medical science is self-admittedly in its infancy as far as the list of good vs bad foods is concerned. You really don’t know who to believe and who not to believe – that’s the reality.
I’ve come to peace with myself on this kind of stuff – I’ve told you before that I love to eat, in fact, I live to eat, so I’m not going to deny myself the experiences of good taste, which really are the heart of eating. Yeah, my position of peace is in moderation – by that I mean, if my diet is diverse enough, I’m going to believe that the diversity alone will keep the wolves from the door. And in the case of this high sodium broth, I will continue to enjoy it at times, just not all the time. And the same with ice cream – with rich foods – butter – wine – proteins – sugars – processed foods, and on, and on, and on. You get the idea.
For me, the above scenario is comfortable, because as a lover of food and tastes, the more diversity, the better. My uncle Harry ate only chicken all his life – and a lot of it! He died a relatively young man. My daughter is a vegetarian – and proud of it – I’m sure she’s healthy, but from my perspective, I’d bet that a wide diversity of foods, taken with moderation, will expose a body to a wider range of life enhancing nutrition than will only eating one part of nature’s bounty.
So there – that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.