Broccoli, Cheddar & Lemon Soup

Maybe it’s just me, but I have had an aversion to Broccoli Cheddar Soup for years. For that matter, when out at a restaurant, if it’s on the menu, I pass judgment thinking “Can this place be more inventive and interesting than Broccoli Cheddar Soup?”. It always seems so “cafeteria” and it usually ends up tasting like a soup bought at a hospital cafeteria. However, I got to thinking… broccoli is good for you, I like broccoli and I like good cheddar cheese and its national soup month, so maybe I can create a Broccoli Cheddar Soup that doesn’t remind folks of their grammar school lunch line.

Why is it that so many institutional places and “order at the counter” sandwich shops offer this soup? There are people who must really like it, the broccoli cheddar soup must be inexpensive to buy from suppliers, and the margin on the product must be good for the bottom line. And why do people like it? Add enough cheese and salt to anything and you are bound to get lots of takers.

I enjoy cooking, so my next comments might seem a bit harsh, but here it goes and let me explain. The other reason why I believe some people like this type of broccoli cheddar soup is because they don’t cook, don’t like to cook and/or have grown up in families who didn’t cook. Often, all their tastebuds know is store and restaurant bought ready-made soups and meals. There’s a big difference from home-made to grocery store bought or similar.

The availability of quality “ready to eat fresh meals and soups” has increased over the years as the number of businesses that offer these meals has increased. One can find fairly good quality. But you also pay for that quality. Twelve dollars for a bowl of soup? That is what my local prepared foods store is charging (and it wasn't very good!). And don’t get me started on Starbucks. The amount of money we all pay for mediocre (at best) lattes and overly sweet addictive beverages is crazy!

I’m 56 years old. And for the 30 years we have been married, my husband Matthew and I have loved good food, wine and eating out at restaurants. And we have done a LOT of eating out. We don’t have kids, so we have had more available time and probably more money than some as we don’t need to worry about braces and college tuition. That said, over the past few years both Matt and I have come to realize for the money spent, the food is usually much better when we cook-in. When one goes to what is considered a “fairly good” restaurant these days and the bill is close to $200.00 or more for two and possibly even more with a bottle of wine that would only cost $20 at a liquor store, one must stop and think “How good was the food really for the money I just spent?”.

Now, we still love going “out”. It’s fun, it’s social, sometimes I don’t feel like cooking and occasionally when out, we do have a meal that ticks all the boxes. Something we could not or would not make at home which tastes delicious, engaging, and friendly waitstaff, good wine by the glass or bottle that you don’t need to take a loan out for, and a vibe and atmosphere that makes you want to stay longer and comeback often. This scenario occurs only on rare occasions unfortunately.

In this time of “not enough time”, many feel they don’t have the time to cook, the desire to cook, or the time to learn to cook due to other priorities, commitments, and family needs. I was fortunate, my mom is a great cook, and my grandmother was also. Watching and learning from them using fresh ingredients, creating flavors, and then working through recipes at a young age helped me as I got older and shaped the person I am today.

I hope those who find themselves with “no time” or “no-desire” to cook can squeak out a few hours each week to begin to cook for themselves and their friends and family.

If they do, they will find the most obvious which is preparing meals at home saves money and usually tastes much better. Beyond those benefits, the sense of personal satisfaction, a greater personal connection with all who share in the food one has made and the memories created around the table or in the kitchen are really some of life’s best!

So, I say “Life’s too short to eat bad broccoli cheddar soup!". Life is meant to be savored… every last spoonful!  And, there is no better way to enjoy life than to keep on cooking for those of us who do, and to start cooking for those of us who don’t!

 Check out my other two recipes for National Soup Month...

Black Bean Soup

Creamy Tomato & Caramelized Onion Soup




Written by jennifer Ostrowski

Leave a comment