Cooking for two is boring -- I want to cook for the entire blogosphere!

Thursday, September 6

Meals for the Invalid: Carrot-Orange Soup and Cream of Broccoli

If you read any old cookbooks, you're likely to find a section on how to feed the elderly, ill and infirm. Invalids, they used to call them. Often invalids needed special foods -- easy to digest and chew, but full of things that would keep one's strength up. Things like beef tea, toast, and that old standby, chicken soup.

A few months ago I had my wisdom teeth taken out, and I found myself wishing for a granny to dust off her old housewife's Bible. In pain, in a oxy haze, unable to chew anything at all, I needed the kind of food they don't tell you how to make anymore. You realize how much you take eating for granted when you can't chew. After a day of apple sauce, smoothies, and ice cream shakes (even cottage cheese curds proved too formidable for my poor, beleaguered mouth), I realized I needed to get some of those nourishing, strength-giving foods in me soon.

When you can't chew things properly, your choices are restricted to things that don't require much chewing. The best solution is to whir up hard-to-chew things until you've got something even an invalid can deal with.

Which is a long way to say: I made soup.

I really wanted soup that would be full of flavor and full of fiber and protein. I also didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen. I made two soups that were easy to prepare and kept well for the week. They should do well for you the next time you have four teeth yanked out of your mouth, or just feel like a soothing meal.

Carrot Orange Soup

This tastes like sunshine and feels like a soup that would get a four-year-old to love her vegetables. I made this even after I could chew again. It's also incredibly budget friendly if you make your own stock from leftover vegetable bits and ends you store up in your freezer.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Fairly standard recipe, I go light on the cream. It's comforting and homey in the winter, but isn't out of place in the springtime either.

Recipes for both are in the Joy of Cooking and can be found here (use Cream of Cauliflower recipe for the broccoli soup, omitting the nutmeg and cooking the broccoli no more than 10 minutes, as few as 6, depending on age of the vegetable):

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