This is the first of six hastily drawn ( and I mean at race pace) suggestions for things to do to lift your mood on a blarfg ( technical term) January day. Or even a February one, or March or… The idea being that something you could do is to make soup. A simple soup, but something that would nourish you, keep you warm and stop you craving things you might regret later.
Oh, like chocolate, halva, biscuits, crisps, chips, dips, tortillas, gin, wine, bowls of coco pops – whatever your Achilles heel might be. I’m sure your tastes are more refined than mine, but being a native Glaswegian, you can buy me for a bag of salt and shake.
Anyhoo, it’s only a suggestion, not a command. The cooker in the picture above looks exactly like the one I used to use way back when I was a new and very depressed graduate. Every time I turned it on to grill something or make toast, the most appalling stench filled my kitchen. Stomach-turning, vile and clingy, it was a mystery pong that eventually went away. Along with any appetite I may have had for toast or grilled things.
Brace yourself people. You may want to skip to the next paragraph. Several months down the line, the grill packed in completely, and lacking the funds to get an electrician out to look at my ailing cooker, I called in a favour from a friend. He produced a formidable set of screwdrivers and prised the back off the cooker and burst out laughing. God knows why. Crucified across the live electric wires at the back of the grill were the desiccated remains of a large mouse. Ewwww. Heaven knows why I’m enshrining that particular cooker in this particular drawing, but I imagine because it relates to that time when my first episode of depression descended.
Soup, though. It’s cheap. It’s good. There are probably a gazillion recipes out there for all manner of soups but I’d recommend anything by A Girl Called Jack who is Jack Monroe and tweets as @MxJackMonroe . She is currently one of the most accomplished practitioners of the art of cooking on a shoestring. She knows all there is to know about the horrors of heat or eat. And food banks. She has a ton of recipes for good, supercheap, easy food ; food to make you feel human; food to remind you that life is worth living.
Of course, you know this already. It’s that old saw. ‘Get outside’. It’s true though. The Ancients said ‘Solvitur ambulandum’ which roughly means ‘it is solved by walking’. It’s not the cure to depression, but it’s part of a package of coping strategies. And if you walk far enough, you’ll have a good appetite for your soup when you return.
I’m feeling a lot better than I did yesterday, mainly because I took my own advice and went outdoors rather than squeezing in another two hours of tippy-tapping on a computer. Our dog got utterly filthy, the path was slippery, sticky and awash in mud and on the way back, we met a young lad out walking two Jack Russells in the most pristine pair of white trainers I’ve ever seen. I had to ask him. He looked down at his feet and laughed. ‘I don’t know,’ he said, ‘It’s a miracle.’
Lovely. The little miracle of the dog walkers. Out of such things a life is made.