On Thanksgiving, we cook a bird. We eat meat. Then I make turkey soup by boiling the carcass and such. After making turkey soup, I have nagging thoughts, ‘That seemed quite economical. I have so much food now. I should make soup from scratch again soon.’
In fact, I will not make soup from scratch again until next Thanksgiving.*
Part of the reason for starting this blog is to explore my own cognitive dissonance. Is making soup from scratch economical and should I be doing it more? Right now I’m trying to work full-time and also produce food for a family 2 or 3 times every day. I want to minimize the time I spend cooking.
To start, naturally, I Googled “is soup the most economical food”.
Peasants and poor folk could get nutrients out of bones and root vegetables by making soup. Soup is economical in that sense, but I’m not talking about making broth.**
The Seattle Times has an article about chicken soup from scratch. In their introduction, they gave themselves away:
During America’s inexorable march toward processed food, chicken soup became something to buy, not something to make … and many cooks simply don’t know how satisfying a project it is.
So, they are admitting that it’s a lot of work. I do not want a “satisfying project”. I want food that is healthy and appealing; and I also want to avoid buying food from restaurants constantly.
Another article I arrived at was by Prudent Penny Pincher. The title is “60 CHEAP AND EASY FALL SOUPS”. Never trust all-caps. According to this site:
Name brand soups are about $2 per serving. Many soups can be made at home for under $1 per serving with less 30 minutes of prep/cook time.
The Prudent Penny Pincher page is little more than a list of links to other recipe sites. They wash their hands of the responsibility of telling you how to actually make soup. For research, I clicked their link for chicken soup.
What do you need to have on hand to make chicken soup in a mere 30 minute? Canned broth, for one. Making your own broth is not ‘quick and easy.’ You also need to have cooked chopped chicken and chopped vegetables.
If I have cooked chopped chicken and chopped vegetables, then I could just eat that! That’s a meal nearly finished. My guilt over not making soup from scratch regularly was completely resolved when I read that.
I had a similar revelation after I tried juicing for a week. Not counting the cost of a juicing machine, should you be juicing? If you have never once felt a pang of guilt for not juicing, then maybe you are male.
I borrowed a juicer once and I bought lots of fresh produce. I chopped fruits and veggies into chunks and juiced them. One cup of juice came out, which I drank while spending 20 minutes cleaning the yucky machine covered in pulp.
I realized that I should stop at the step where I have chopped fruits and veggies and just eat them. Fortunately, I hadn’t bought the juicer. Pity the women who juice regularly because of sunk cost bias after they bought the machine. Anyway, I concluded that juicing was expensive in terms of ingredients and time.
Through writing this, I realized that I make soup from scratch at Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday and I’m on vacation. It’s fun when you have free time.
Anyone who disagrees is welcome to comment. Am I discounting the future too much? Should I put work into making soup so that we can eat soup for days?
*There is an exception. I make delicious scallop corn chowder once a year when I am on vacation with extended family in the summer. So, that’s also when I’m not doing my professional work and an extended family member is taking care of my children.
**I do not participate in trendy “bone broth”. Do you think my son would be happy if I put bone broth on the table for dinner?