Convenience Food that Makes Sense


I like Bob’s Red Mill, and I’m glad they’ve made inroads into mainstream supermarkets. I sometimes think they go a bit too far (what won’t they grind?) but so what?

I mean, I found myself with this so-called soup mix – which contains, as you see, beans, lentils, and whole grains. I have most of the things listed here – maybe not kamut, certainly not triticale or whole oat groats, but a fair approximation. (Of course finding them is another story, but we’re not going to discuss the state of my cabinets.) The stuff sat on the counter for a few days, with me scorning it: “What do I need a soup mix for?”

And yet. I wouldn’t have mixed together all of those things, not ever, at least not without a big incentive. Then the other day, tired from a long run, wanting a nap, hungry and knowing I would be ravenous when I woke up, I dumped half a package of this stuff into a heavy pot, rinsed it a couple of times, and started it on the stove. Then I added:

2 carrots, which I peeled

2 shallots, which I didn’t bother to peel

1 whole head of garlic, whole

A small handful of dried porcinis

A piece of kelp

A dried chipotle

A dried red chile

A star anise

I began boiling the thing, covered it, turned the heat way down, and went to sleep. Seriously.

When I woke up, about an hour and a half later, it was done. I fished out the things I wasn’t going to eat, and sat down to a pretty terrific bowl of stew. (You can’t call this soup unless you make it really watery, and why would you do that?) I have to say the star anise was an inspired addition.

This is convenience food I can live with – it’s convenient, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m paying a premium, no doubt, to have someone else mix stuff together for me, but I can live with that. So now I like Bob’s even more.a 

Posted in American


  1. Anonymous said...

    Added bonus: Bob’s Red Mill is employee-owned and operated. story proves that cooking is not about time. It’s about useful skills employed well. ~Paula

  2. smartcat said...

    Bob’s also makes a large variety of gluten free products….a boon to those who need gluten free foods but do not have the ability, inclination or time to cook. 🙂

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