American Soup & Confusion on Cooking in a New Country

Before I delve into the wonders of soup, I’d like to apologize. While I may not have followers by the thousands (or even hundreds), I made a personal pact to document my traveler’s life on this blog and I haven’t been doing a very good job. While I don’t know why I feel like I have to say sorry, just putting it out there makes me feel a bit better and gives me more motivation to keep working on this journal/space/tiny piece of the internet that is mine.

For my first couple of weeks in Spain, I convinced myself that I was invincible and proceeded eat ,basically, everything in sight. The food here really is amazing and I was really content for a couple of days. After indulging in too much street food (although there is never such a thing as too much street food), my stomach basically yelled at me and I realized I had to cut down on the awesomeness.

Exhibit A. Churros: Death by sweet, crunchy yet soft goodness. Yes that is literally granulated sugar on top of fried dough (best combination ever).

Exhibit B. Fried Ham/Bacon – i’m not really sure. Delicious but more thirst-inducing than any potato chip I’ve ever eaten.

Exhibit C. Whatever this mouth watering dessert is.

Taking on the challenge of making homemade chicken noodle soup (something that I had , surprisingly, never done before), I was pleasantly surprised with the tasty outcome of this nice recipe, the fact that it was incredibly cheap to make, and that it definitely did the trick in helping me get over my stomachache (confirming the idiom that chicken soup is really Jewish penicillin).

Here’s the recipe
Pro tips/Modifications:

  • Instead of buying the vegetables in their general quantities, buy a soup-ready fresh veggie mix that is easily found in most produce sections as a combination of celery, carrot, and leek. In my version I used one of these packages (which was around 1 euro) and it contained 3 carrots, 1 leek, and 2 stalks of celery.
  •  I decided to double the recipe, which made converting everything to the metric system even harder, but ended up with not enough chicken broth and had to add more later – so I guess you should cook soup with the mantra “more broth is always better”
  •  A new kitchen often comes without the tools you’re used to cooking with, so I had to peel my lemons with a knife and chop the rind up. Not ideal, but still resulted in awesome flavors!
  •  Substituting orzo for macaroni shaped pasta made this soup a little less classy, but reminiscent of my late nights fueled by Easy Mac (impossible to find in Spain, by the way) – so it kind of made it even more comforting.
  • I bought some cheap chicken breast from the grocery store and boiled it before putting it into the soup. Not the most flavorful way of cooking, but definitely cheap and effective.

The day I made this soup, my flatmates put together an impromptu dinner party and decided to combine a bunch of random foods that we had all made to have a gigantic, delicious, feast. As expected, the soup was part of said feast and has been dubbed by my Japanese flatmate as “American Soup”.

Last but not least, I want to mention the fact that ,in total, it only took about 8 euros to make this GIGANTIC pot of soup which fed me for about 5 days (including serving it at a dinner party). I am definitely going to making a lot of soup this semester.

– M

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