Monday, March 19, 2012

Soup For None

One of my favorite foods is Vietnamese Pho. Pho (pronounced "fuh"), for any philistines out there, is sort of the national dish of Vietnam and is a noodle soup containing beef or chicken along with basil, mint leaves, lime and other assorted vegetables and spices. It's awesome and I could eat a gallon of it right now.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the local Asian grocery and found some pho soup base mix. Hungry for a good bowl of pho, I bought a jar.

I couldn't wait to try it and started cooking it as soon as I got home. First I dumped some fresh chicken and vegetables in a large pot, according to the instructions on the jar. It then said to empty the entire contents of the jar (which was slightly smaller than the average coffee mug) into the pot and add water. It seemed a bit odd to use the entire jar at once, but as I squinted at the instructions with my glasses-less eyes, I was sure that that's what it said.

I cooked the pho for the recommended time. The kitchen was filled with the unmistakable and wonderful smell of fresh basil leaves. When it was finally done I poured the soup into a bowl, sat down and ate a big spoonful.

And immediately did an impressive spit take.

Something was wrong somewhere. The soup tasted not unlike the salty armpits of Zeus after a sweaty day of hurling lightning bolts at unbelievers. It tasted less like traditional pho and more like a liquified salt lick. It was like I poured a couple spoonfuls of water into a large box of Morton's salt and tried to eat it.

It obviously wasn't fit for consumption but I was reluctant to throw it out because A. the jar of mix wasn't cheap, clocking in at around $7 and B. I was hungry. I did my best to choke down a bowl, but I only got about halfway through it before I had to throw in the towel.

I dug the jar out of the trash and reread the instructions, THIS time wearing my glasses. I saw now that it did not in fact say to dump the entire contents into the pot, but rather to pour TWO teaspoons full into it. One jar of the mix made 20 servings (!). I just ate 20 servings concentrated down into one bowl! I'm lucky I didn't have a sodium-induced stroke.

There was nothing for it at that point, so I grabbed the pot, opened the back door and heaved the vile concoction into the back yard.

Cut to this past weekend when I was mowing the lawn for the first time this Spring. I noticed a large brown patch of dead grass near the back door of my house, next to the air conditioner. That's it in the photo above; it's hard to tell but it's a good two feet wide. I stood there scratching my head for a minute, wondering what happened to render the lawn lifeless in this spot. A particularly large dog relieving himself? A tiny UFO attempting to burn a crop circle in my back yard?

Nope! It was the pho I threw out the back a couple of weeks before! Apparently my poisonous soup was so toxic it killed the grass where it landed. And it's still dead!

Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Always wear your spectacles when you're readin' a recipe, lest you poison your family.


  1. wow interesting...i love reading about soup killing your lawn more than your reviews of "the walking dead"...not! jk

  2. You don't think it's interesting that my cooking is so bad I can use it as a pesticide?

  3. if that's what it did to your lawn, imagine what it did to the lining in your stomach!

  4. "The soup tasted the salty armpits of Zeus after a sweaty day of hurling lightning bolts."
    Best sentence ever. I am still laughing.

  5. Oops! I said "pesticide" in my comment above. I should have said "herbicide."

    @Dawn: That's the best way I can describe how it tasted. I bought some more pho mix but haven't had a chance to try it again. Hoping my grass will grow back one of these days.


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