Sometimes, Cheating Really is OK

I really feel that sometimes, Mrs Beeton is out to kill me.  (Headline:  Long-Dead Victorian Entices 21st Century Gal to Her Death by Excess Fat’).

2 oz / 50 g of butter in a small batch of soup?  That’s what her Parsnip Soup recipe calls for.  Perhaps it’s just me – after all, until I moved in with my boyfriend, I was free to cook however I wished.  Not that I was / am against fat per se – as a flavour enhancer etc., (good) fat definitely has a role to play.  I guess I’ve become über-sensitive since shacking up with Mr Don’t Skimp on the Butter – I dare not let him cook without supervision, unless I want that new pack of butter and container of cream to disappear into the saucepan.  Maybe I’ve just lost my sense of perspective on these things.

It’s a freezing winter’s day (minus 4 degrees with sawdust-like snow whipping through the air) and soup is what’s needed to warm us both up.


INGREDIENTS – 1 lb. of sliced parsnips, 2 oz. of butter, salt and cayenne to taste, 1 quart of stock No. 106.

Mode.—Put the parsnips into the stewpan with the butter, which has been previously melted, and simmer them till quite tender. Then add nearly a pint of stock, and boil together for half an hour. Pass all through a fine strainer, and put to it the remainder of the stock. Season, boil, and serve immediately.


Sometimes, I really think that cheating ought to be condoned.

My boyfriend was due home in 45 minutes and I wanted the soup to be ready when he got here (the less he sees of the preparation, the more likely he is to try something). If the parsnip pieces were smaller, I figured, then the total preparation time surely ought to be reduced.

So, I put the raw parsnip in the blender and reduced it to tiny fragments, before popping it in the saucepan with the butter.

Rather than ‘simmer’, the mix was more or less lightly fried (and what a deliciously biscuity scent fried parsnip has!  Mmmm).  After this, I added the stock and let it infuse as recommended for 30 minutes.  Then I put it through the blender again and added more stock (I confess – the stock is my usual organic vegetable stock powder from an organic chain store here in Germany).

With my boyfriend, I sometimes like to play the game of  ”Guess what’s in this?”

“Mmmm yeah not bad.  Is there coconut milk in this?  Is there cinnamon?”

No.  Try again.

“Well I don’t know.  But did you cheat on Beeton?  Are you cheatin’ Beeton? Is this Cheatin’ Beeton Soup?” he joked as he slulluped down his soup.

This is a really nice soup.  The overwhelming taste theme is ‘sweet’, but not in an unpleasant way.

By the way, tonight we decided to move to Canada within the next year or so.  I really hope they have Farmers’ Markets over there that are at least the equal to German markets!


Parsnip Soup (Recipe 141):

In the kitchen, I mean.


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