It is impossible for me to behold a bowl of steaming soup at lunch without thinking of "the" Primordial Soup.
I imagine some half-formed amphibious creature emerging from the broth and crawling across the dinner table, leaving a trail of viscous footprints and lentils in its wake. This is particularly true of Italian wedding soup, the most prehistorically swamp-like soup of all.
Various bisques, stews, and goulashes, however, seem more mysterious; the murky domains of unknown creatures of the deep. Who, after all, from time to time, has not envisaged the Loch Ness Monster's head and humps surfacing in a tureen of beef and barley? The creamy depths of New England clam chowder, likewise, make a suitable lair for our old friend the Kraken.
And I simply cannot conceive what unmentionable horrors dwell within the bubbling contents of a mushroom casserole.
So, on the whole, I favor an overcooked meat and boiled potatoes formulated meal, where vegetables are visible to the naked eye and not submerged in opaque gravy or oil-slicked sauces. Indeed, I am happiest when my lunch can be mistaken for a diorama of the Gobi desert. (Although I draw the line at pies, which are essentially swamps concealed beneath deceptively arid surfaces. Pies are the quicksand of the culinary landscape if you ask me.)
This aversion to soup and soupy by-products stems, I believe, from a traumatic event I suffered during the spoonfed, pre-solid food nightmare of my infant years. Like a heavily censored scene from The Blob, I dimly recall my little face becoming engulfed by an unstoppable oozing mass of apple-flavored mush as I sat imprisoned in my high chair. Perhaps I shouldn't have upended the disgusting bowl of mush over my own head in the first place. But how else could the poor, defenseless baby that was me protest his bondage to the diaper and the sippy cup?
No doubt some bearded psychoanalyst could cure my soup neurosis with hypnosis and auto-suggestion, but I refuse to fork over thousands of dollars for the sake of mulligatawny and gazpacho.
I'd rather chew on a stick of shoe-leather tough salami. I can jam that up my nose if I need to make a point and there's no mess to clean up afterward.