Friday: On the Importance of Adding Fresh Ingredients to Premade Foods (aka the “Better Soup from a Can” Post)

Fast forward a number of years.

Of all the posts that will comprise thephoto-5 BLD Project at that time, no doubt this one will be regarded as fairly insignificant. But I beg to differ.

The point to note here is not that this is about the organic chicken with white and wild rice soup from Wolfgang Puck’s line of canned organic soups. It’s what else I did: I spent five extra minutes chopping up two-thirds of a stalk of celery and the end of a small red onion and satueed these small bits in the bottom of a saucepan, with olive oil. I added in some chopped fresh parsley, and once that began to cook just slightly, then I added in soup.

This miniscule bit of additional prep not only made the soup more appealing to photo-6look at, taste better and improve its overall character — I also just fit in an extra half-serving of vegetables. Fresh vegetables. And nothing, nothing in package foods can compensate for the taste, texture or overall vibrancy of fresh vegetables. And most of us don’t get enough.

I’ve been thinking about Mark Bittman’s blog post about convincing fast food chains to offer more healthful options all week. “The fact is that fast food isn’t “bad” because it’s fast — it’s bad because of crummy ingredients,” he writes. We can’t all eat splendidly all the time — let alone make chicken with white and wild rice soup from scratch.

So if you are making a quick lunch at home by heating up some soup from a can — or any prepackaged food, for that matter — improve it. Add some fresh vegetables. A drizzle of olive oil. Some fresh herbs. A little seasoning. A little goes a long way in making a meal taste better, and be better for you.

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