Coffee with Mimi

Published 8:58 am Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cheddar broccoli or Broccoli cheddar?


Cheddar Broccoli soup is one of my favorites. It takes no time to make, and with the purchase of one of those clever, hand-held immersion blenders, the messiest part of the procedure is greatly simplified.  There is no need to dirty up the full size blender, or risk spilling the hot mess all over while transferring the mixture back and forth.

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We had some fresh broccoli, lemons, stock, cheese and of course, cream, in the fridge on Sunday. I made a big pot full of creaminess, and embarrassingly, we ate almost the whole thing.   

On Monday, I walked to work, partially out of guilt. As I passed the local coffee shop, I noticed their outside sign board advertised Broccoli Cheddar soup as the special one day during the week.

The primary ingredients of the soup are broccoli and cheddar cheese. They are so important that the soup is named for those two ingredients. It wouldn’t be that soup without broccoli and cheddar cheese. However, I call my version Cheddar Broccoli and the coffee shop names its offering Broccoli Cheddar.

So, what is the difference? Is it point of reference, deeply psychological, consumerism, political correctness?

Why do we feel the need to over analyze everything?  It’s soup.

Do I feel worse because I put the more fat laden ingredient first on the list in the at home version? If I order a bowl of the Green Stuff Cheddar soup, will I be consuming fewer grams of bad fat?  

Perhaps, I don’t know the coffee shop recipe for their soup; they may have a special recipe which relies on less cheddar and more broccoli to achieve a creamy, silky texture. I don’t have a recipe at all. After years of soup making, and no real need to be consistent, I make soup on the fly. Got vegies, stock, salt and pepper, maybe leftover meat and there is dinner.  

There was a time when it was extremely important that my cooking was consistent and recipes were faithfully followed. In our many years in the catering business, I was often asked to duplicate a menu or particular dish from an event of some significance to a family on a special anniversary. I learned quickly that it was important to the client that I keep records and recipes over the years.

The event and the food were a matter of comfort and memories for the family we were serving. “Your mom catered our parents’ wedding and they want that great cheese spread for their 25th Anniversary party.”  Goodness, what was in the spread? Cheese, cream cheese, spinach, nuts…oh, that was the torte.  Problem solved.

Wouldn’t it be great if all our life’s issues were so easily resolved? Perhaps they are, but we are missing it by worrying about the right words.  

Consider something that worries you tremendously or maybe even a little bit. For me it is the yard. I have always wanted to have a nice yard. I envision lush, well mowed grass. My planting beds will be designed ensuring the sequence of blooms and foliage throughout the seasons will give continuous color to the landscape. There are cutting flowers for lovely arrangements in the house and herbs for cooking. 

Interesting features such as a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and a pond with a gurgling fountain add depth and dimension. Comfortable seating arrangements are located to take advantage of sun and shade and pleasing vistas. Our yard is large for in town and we can have vistas.

I dream of landscaping. I exist with a yard. 

As retirement drew close, I began to lay the foundation for the dream. We purchased the equipment and I started gathering some pictures and making diagrams. I had a recipe to follow.

I retired. Then I took a part time job; we started remodeling projects with our daughters and our son, none of which live in our town or the same town. The list of life interruptions, pleasant and sometimes otherwise, goes on.

Do I have a landscaped outdoor space or a yard? I continue to insist that I have a work in progress.  Some weeks it is progress just to mow the grass.

If my yard bothers me, I should hire the work out and absolve myself of responsibility. If I want to continue as is, it may never be the vision, but it is my yard.

Is it Cheddar Broccoli or Broccoli Cheddar? My soup is mine to live with. Neither version is wrong, or maybe even more desirable. Same words, just a different order as I pass by. 

By the way, my version calls for cream. I think it gives the finished product a little special touch.