My last update was a short audio update called “Reading labels > Instant beef soup.”
[The audio is available here: http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/Wd6KRWHQ%5D
In case you have any problems listening to the update (it might be a bit slow if you’re on a dial-up internet connection), I had the update transcribed, and I wanted to include a copy of it here, so that you don’t miss out.
All best wishes,
Reading labels > Instant beef soup
Today’s update is about reading labels. In an effort to keep costs down, when we were packing lunches, we had started adding an instant cup-a-soup to André’s lunch, to keep him from buying a bowl of soup from the daily canteen. (He likes to have soup for his coffee break, I guess it’s like his breakfast.)
So we were trying to keep costs down, so we picked up some instant soups in a cup, the kind where you just add boiling water, and they were really cheap, less than about 60¢ each sometimes.
He ate them very happily for several months. I would put one cup in each lunch every day, no work, very cheap, life is good.
Until I read the nutritional label on the side.
I’ll admit that I don’t read nutrition labels very religiously. Sometimes, if I’m standing in the grocery store and I can’t decide etween two boxes of crackers, I might check the fat or the sugar content.
Buy this instant cup-a-soup has 11 g of fat.
For comparison, that’s the same as a medium-sized donut, or two pork sausages. But if a regular can of Healthy Choice chicken noodle soup has 2 g of fat, how are they getting 11 grams into instant soup?
So we open up the top, look at the ingredients, what do you see? Noodles, it’s kind of salty, a few bits of dehydrated vegetables. That’s it. I pulled out some raw ingredients, similar ones, and I check the labels. Chicken broth? No fat. Beef broth? No fat. Instant Chinese noodles? Again, no fat.
It turns out they fry the noodles first before dehydrating them. I can’t tell you why. Unless it makes them taste better. It certainly doesn’t make them any more healthy.
I thought I would try to figure out how to make this beef noodle soup from scratch. It took me one or two trials to get the mix of ingredients just right. It’s hard to replace the very salty-MSG flavour, but the new version is super healthy and has 1 g of fat.
Now, on Mondays and Wednesdays after supper, I make up a batch of this soup, because each batch makes enough for two days. I don’t want to make too much in advance as I think the noodles would get soggy and weird, but maybe I’m just being careful. After it’s cooked, I divide the soup into two small containers, leave it on the counter to cool until bedtime, then I put them in the fridge.
Slightly more work, but cheap ingredients, and much more healthy.
Homemade instant beef soup
2 cups beef broth made with concentrate or powder (I use Bovril)
1 cup chicken broth (I use homemade from Extended Recipe 1.1, which has a tiny bit more fat than commercially prepared, but tastes better and has more body)
2 squares instant Chinese noodles
handful frozen peas
handful frozen corn
Put all ingredients into a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit approximately 15 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and fully rehydrated. Divide into two plastic containers, let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.
Because I don’t know about you, but when I want grams of fat I’d really rather have a donut than an instant soup.
This is Shelley for One Roast Chicken, and I’ll talk to you again soon 🙂
Shelley MacDonald Beaulieu