If you are like me, you may have a penchant for eating quickly. You may have had people, specifically a waitress in a Toronto hotel, comment that you are ‘really fast at eating’. No, I have not let that comment go. My point is, whenever I have something delicious, I often wish there was just more of it. However, if I make too much of something, I’m likely to get sick of it if it’s the only thing I eat for a week. I’m faced with a bit of a conundrum which is also paired with my lifelong instinct for frugality. These have led me to investigate how I can use simple little cooking hacks to stretch my soups a little farther without having to make enough to feed an army!
Ok, this may be a little obvious, but just adding water is going to make your soup go a little further. If you stick to a 50/50 ratio between water and whatever flavoured liquid you’re using in your soup (be it tomatoes, a stock type, or a cream), you’re unlikely to dilute it to the point of making it unpalatable. A lot of people are worried about adding water without stock or something to give the soup extra flavour when it is a little thick, but as long as you stick to that golden ratio, you’re not likely to get a gross version of the soup you love!
As we all learned about five years ago when the Banting diet craze hit a head, fat makes you full. The fuller you are, the less you eat, and the less you eat, the more of that delicious, delicious soup you save for later. I can understand some people not wanting to make their soups too fatty – they are meant to be a healthy choice after all. Dumping a bunch of fatty meats (like cut-up sausage or bacon) into a pot of soup seems counterintuitive and even quite sickening. Committing softly by adding beans or lentils to your soup will have a similar effect – it keeps the vegetable content high, adds extra protein to your soup, and makes you fuller faster!
Contrary to what a lot of food websites, diet plans, and Instagram influencers will tell you: starch is not the enemy! As a species, we have been living off starch for tens of thousands of years – the cultivation of cereals was literally the impetus for civilization! The enemy isn’t starch, it’s lack of moderation. Our bodies crave as much starch as possible: it fills us up and helps us retain weight – this was an important evolutionary trait for when we were hunters and gatherers, which is less important now that we have cars that can drive to a supermarket. If I want to stretch my soup a little further, I’m not opposed to having a nice slice of bread on the side or adding a few croutons or crackers into the bowl when I’m eating. The key is to make sure that your soup outweighs the starch you decide on.
These are my tips – what about you? What kinds of magic spells do you put on your food to make sure you don’t blitz through it too quickly?