Big Pot

I am quite certain that no man has ever made as much soup as I made last night. It is an unholy, blasphemous amount of soup. Unholy, because its size recalls the irreconcilable sin of gluttony; blasphemous, because the idea that man should usurp the act of creation to such a vast extent is surely an affront to God.

I got the idea in my head last week that what was required for our household was a Big Pot. We are a household of Soup; this is true all year round, but especially at this time of year. For us, soup is sustenance, and sustenance is soup. Until recently, we made our soups in a moderately sized pot, a pot that was passed down to me from my parents, and has been with me for many a year. This pot, while unremarkable for its physical size, takes up a remarkable space in my heart. Alas, when I conceived of the idea of Big Pot, all this sentimentality was quickly thrown out of the nearest window, and I was overcome with a desire for a pot of such proportions as could feed a whole village.

Well, that is exactly what we now have! The box that seeked to contain this monstrosity denoted its volume as 8 quarts. I have never heard of this foreign measurement, but I can only assume that it is short for quarters – that is to say that our Big Pot is the size of eight quarters – that is to say, it is the size of two whole pots. A pot that is two pots is a frightening concept indeed.

As to the creation of the soup: I began, as usual, by cutting the onion. Ah, the onion! It became clear even at this early moment that cooking with Big Pot was a culinary experience altogether unlike any I had ever reckoned with. When it came time to slide the multisected onion from the board to the pot, I was overcome with a feeling much like that of Neil Armstrong when he first made the grand effort to turn his suit-encumbered body around and cast his ken upon the grand orb that is our home. The onion, that I had once known to fill the bottom of a pot and then some, was like a speck in the infinite abyss that was Big Pot! It was as if I had thrown a handful of sand into the ocean! My eyes welled up, and not for the reason one might expect when dealing with onions; no, my eyes welled up with an intense sadness.

This sadness, however, was mixed with an altogether less unpleasant emotion, which, in turn, was mixed with fear – it was in this moment that I became aware of the potential that lay before me. With a pot this size, I could, dare I say it… I dare not. Whether I dared to voice this possibility even to myself, I will not reveal. Let us suffice to say, that my mind was instantly filled with ideas so hideous in their scope that I was forced to look away. Big Pot was leading me down disastrous roads, roads that could only end in distinct suffering – not only my own, but the suffering of many a living being. I closed my eyes. They were welling up again; this time, however, it was from the toxic excretions of the onions.

The rest of the soup construction flowed almost like a dream. It seemed as if I was in the kitchen for hours, peeling, slicing, dicing, in a pitiful attempt to fill the depths of Big Pot. Squash, potato, tomato, turnip, lentils – all disappeared into the maw of the pot. A whole cutting board full of ingredients would slide disgracefully into the pot, leaving the pot no fuller. It was as if the soup was being sucked through a portal into an infinite Soup Dimension. I searched through the fridge for ingredients – three quarters of a can of leftover beans went into the pot. Big Pot only laughed.

Before I knew it, the soup was ready. At this point, all sense of perspective had left me. The Pot was an universe unto itself. That things could travel from Big Pot back into this world was nigh inconceivable. But I was hungry – oh, so hungry. I was fatigued, not only physically, from the laborious work of filling the pot, but spiritually too. My mind had been torn asunder and patched back together; I was not the same man I had once been.

I stuck a ladle in the pot, and beheld the dripping monstrosity as I directed it towards a human-sized bowl. I must have appeared as a madman, for, as my wife later told me, I was laughing deliriously throughout this whole procedure. I could not control myself. After removing the ladlefuls necessary to fill my bowl – a bowl that I have always trusted to contain exactly one meals-worth of food – the level of soup in the pot had not changed. Sheer, unbridled mirth filled my soul with this discovery – contained in the pot must be an infinite amount of soup! I ladled another bowl, and found, to no surprise, that the amount of soup left in the bowl remained unchanged.

After dinner, we realized, to our horror, that the rest of the soup would have to be rescued from Big Pot and transferred to refridgeratable vessels. Thankfully, this duty did not fall upon me; having cooked the soup itself, the responsibility for clean-up belonged to my wife. I must admit that I did not stay to watch this event unfold. I escaped to another room; however, I did not escape from the horrific screams that emanated from our kitchen as tupperware after tupperware was exhausted in the attempt to contain this larger-than-should-be-allowed soup.

A day has now passed, but still I dare not peer into the fridge. I could not bear to witness such a scene. The sheer overwhelming mass of soup is sure to drive me to irrecoverable madness. So, I sit at my table, and write out this tale of warning and woe for any reader who may be so courteous as to heed its vital message.

It was a good soup that I made last night. It was a delicious soup, in fact. I may dare to declare that it was one of the most delicious soups that I have ever tasted. But was it worth it? The creation of this soup took me somewhere where no human should ever be; what I brought home is beyond human conception. This experience has made me unlike you, or any member of our specices. I look out upon this world now as something alien, something wholly unlike the man I supposed myself to be yesterday. The trifling sorrows of humankind seem strange to me, as do their fleeting joys. I am numb to all such emotions. My mind is filled to the brim with inhuman knowledge – that which should not be known. That knowledge is intimately connected with that substance that you fain to represent with that monosyllabic word: “Soup.”

Ah, soup! It sounds so easy, so carefree! Yes, it sounds simple enough that even a child could understand! But be not fooled by such notions! It is dangerous, more dangerous than you could ever know! Beware its presence, and take care before you step too far.

Five Scholarly Meals to Perpetuate Your Idiocy

If you choose to live the life of a scholar, the first thing you should be thinking about is ensuring your ability to continue pondering long into old age. Being a scholar pays, but it does not pay much, so not only do your meals have to be full of essential materials, but they have to be available cheaply.

Continue reading “Five Scholarly Meals to Perpetuate Your Idiocy”