Soup On-the-Run

30 Apr

Something that is a horrible idea but that I always attempt is eating soup on-the-go. For some reason, the idea of bringing scalding liquid and mystery chunks to my unsuspecting lips, while also trying to walk/lightly jog to my destination is something of which I cannot get enough.

I think I love the idea of soup so much because it’s warm and light and comforting and can be purchased at the CVS next to my apartment.

Today was one of those days where I was just fixated on soup.

Looking for a light, quick lunch, I went into the Cityco convenience store near my next class.

The options were endless, and endlessly overpriced.

Chicken salad sandwiches for the price of a small chicken; little roll-ups for the amount of twelve $1 bills rolled up into a wad of hard-earned cash; cultural containers of hummus and pita and veggies for the low, low price of starvation within the next two hours.

Nothing was really appealing to me. I could have headed to the dining hall or to the student union, but knowing that I would be eating dinner in a few short hours, something told me to stay on the easy breezy convenience store side of town.

I think the employees at Cityco know me as the “Confused Wanderer” because I always walk into the store looking confused and disgruntled, circle the aisles for twenty minutes, and then leave with nothing. It’s kind of my tri-weekly routine. Some people go to the gym, others wander. (But not all who wander are lost! Usually they’re just hungry.)

After deciding that none of the aforementioned items would really satisfy me, I approached the soup section.

Was it the blinding shininess of the impressively bright ladles that drew me there? Or the smell of the elderly man dipping his pinky into the chowder? Or the gentle rustling of the Oyster Cracker packages that reminded me of summer?

Something drew me – like a bee to honey, or an Irishwoman (me) to a pub – to the soup.

Ah, what a surprise. The soup – in all of its watery glory – was the same price as the sandwiches and hummus plates I had previously rejected. Better turn around and pick the heartier options for my money, right?

Wrong. My brain didn’t want hearty! It wanted liquid and overpriced, with a taste of remorse and poverty in every bite!

I zeroed in on the Panera brand soups – the “elitist soups,” if you will.

Low-Fat Chicken Tortilla Soup caught my eye.

Roasted chicken and Poblano peppers! Black beans and tomatoes “seasoned with ancho”! Chiptole chiles! Perishable! 254L!

It was all too good to be true! I had to have it.

Like a zombie, I reached out to grab my soup. My calling.

The plastic container felt cold yet comforting in my hands.

Don’t worry little guy, I thought. You’re home, now.

The cashier at Cityco rang up my lunch, which, to no one’s surprise except my own, cost the same amount as the down payment for my future wedding (which has been dwindling as “future wedding” morphs into “maybe I’ll just save up for a nice garden plant”).

Having purchased the soup, I now needed to find a place to heat it. (Something to which I had given no thought.)

Luckily, Cityco has a microwave!

I approached the microwave with my soup, like a new mom approaches a doctor with her infant.

I assumed the plastic container was microwavable, took the lid off, and then started trying to rip off the plastic.

Could someone – preferably an inventor – please tell me WHY Panera would ever sell soup without a grip-able plastic covering??

I managed to rip off half of the plastic covering by hand, before things started to get reallyyyy messy.

Soup is not tame. It will talk back to you like a bratty ten-year-old if it doesn’t like what you’re doing.

Apparently, Queen Low-Fat Tortilla didn’t like me messing with her plastic.

Tortilla and I engaged in a four-minute battle of strength. Every time I pulled right, she ducked left. When I went for her hair, she went for my neck. When I punched, she kicked.

I wondered if passerbys could tell that I was winded from trying to open my own soup…

Finally, Tortilla managed to give in…but not before splashing soup all over my 90s chic denim jacket.

Now, winded and covered in soup, I was ready to heat my lunch.

Not all microwaves are equal, and I’ve devised a foolproof way to microwave things carefully, so as to avoid ruining the integrity of the microwave’s contents. My method also takes about eight hours, so don’t engage if you don’t have endless amounts of time with which to microwave things.

I like to cook my food in small increments. Ten seconds here, twenty seconds there. Maybe a minute after that, just to assure that it’s good and cooked. Variety is the spice of life, and microwaving is the spice of mine. (See this sweet potato post for more info.)

After a while, I started to hear some mysterious noises coming from the microwave. I assumed they were just the natural sound effects of cooking, like when you boil a lobster and you can hear it screaming. (Or, I should say, when “one” boils a lobster and “one” – as I’ve been told – can hear it screaming. I just like eating lobster for the butter-dipping aspect.)

But then, I heard some popping noises. Wondering if maybe I’d accidentally bought popcorn, I decided to open the microwave and investigate.

Damn it. No popcorn. I suck.

Instead of popcorn, I found soup, splattered all over the microwave.

I immediately began to think of excuses that I could tell the police as I was getting arrested for soup litter.

A giant bat flew down from the ceiling and I had to fight it off before the entire store got rabies! Sorry about the soup, but do you really want to pay for a bunch of people to get anti-Rabies BUTT INJECTIONS??

I have terrible allergies and I accidentally sneezed into the microwave! So it’s not actually soup.

(That one seemed counterproductive.)

Look, a monkey! (*Sophie runs away and is immediately caught*).

Look, two monkeys! (*Sophie jumps on a Duck Boat and drives off into the distance. She lives many years as a Mike’s Pastries baker, and eventually starts her own bakery in Italy. She never touches soup again).

*Sophie breaks out into song and at least goes down doing what she loves best – singing when no one asked for it.*

Some of these scenarios may have worked, but I didn’t feel like waiting around to test them. So, I quickly wiped down the microwave with the small tree’s worth of napkins I’d liberated from Dunkin Donuts circa 2012 (which were still in my pocket), grabbed my soup, and took off.

Shockingly, my microwave method had failed, and my soup container had partially melted. It was wobbly in my hands, and a small leak had formed in its side.

So, I swaddled it in the remaining allotment of napkins and headed for the library (where I would quietly eat my criminal soup and forget that the whole scene had ever happened).


“Hey,” said some kid, as I sat down to eat my soup. “That smells really good. Where did you get that?”

“Shaws,” I responded.

A soup criminal on-the-run never, ever reveals the origins of her soup.


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