Cooking used to be a chore. Consider early man, who spent a good five hours running his prey to exhaustion, and then, panting over collapsed antelope, had to ponder Step Two.
We’ve got it easy. Meat comes pre-felled, vegetables pre-grown, oil pre-pressed. All we have to do is toss these ingredients into a pot that someone else forged and set it over a fire that someone else built and installed.
Truly, it’s the age of convenience.
Cooking, however, is still a chore. Many a modern man meets the challenge by outsourcing the prep work. The grocery store – or delivery service – offers pre-cut vegetables, pre-mixed sauces, pre-chunked stew cubes. Fine developments in the history of dinner.
It’s a pleasure to find a recipe that needs no shortcuts, one that’s simply simple. Say, a soup that calls for one ingredient, 20 minutes and a spoon. If you don’t count the 12,000 years it took to develop agriculture and indoor plumbing, it’s a snap.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes: About 7 cups, serves 6
From Provenance: “The Gourmet Cookbook.”
8 cups fresh corn kernels sliced off 12 to 14 ears of corn
6 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Simmer: Heap corn in a big saucepan. Pour in water and salt. Bring just to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until corn turns tender, about 20 minutes.
Blend: Working in batches and mindful of the “hot fill” line on the blender, swirl soup completely smooth.
Strain: Pour soup through a medium-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan.
Serve: Reheat soup over a low flame. Scoop into bowls, season with salt, pepper and chives (corn is sweet, so go generous with the pepper and chives). That’s it. Ramen packet aside, soup doesn’t get any easier.