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Cool Beans

A Round Up

I can only imagine how a child in the 60s felt in the era of the bomb - Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, all that. Destruction like a spectre in the sky. On the world there hung a cloak of fear, which was a bit tight in the neck and didn't come in its colour.

In the 90s, this child lived through the omnipresent threat of mad cow disease. There was the very real fear of contracting CJD, the human variant of mad cow disease, a disease that could only be avoided by not eating beef. Round our way, my mother ruled the house with an iron deficiency and beef was not on the menu. I've never known her cook or eat a steak. I'm not sure she could even pick a steak out of a line-up consisting of a steak, a balloon and an oil rig, and if she could, it would only be through process of elimination.

The Bovine Avoidance Strategy, as it was never known, left me with an indifference to beef, bordering on dislike, round the corner from ambivalence and two bus stops down from distrust. So here I am today, a fully grown adult taking on Oxtail soup. It never sounds like an appetising prospect and, predictably, it is utterly disgusting, like a collision of Bovril and dog food in an arsehole factory. The Beef Avoidance Years, as they will never be known, were the best years of our lives.

Chris Delamere


Now, they call it a 'Big Soup', but it's actually the same size as the classic Heinz range. What they are is heavy. But 'Heavy Soup', or 'Very Dense Soup', doesn't quite have the same marketability. 'Very Dense Soup' has about the same money-spinning appeal as a barium meal, sounding as it does like a substance you'd ingest to highlight an ulcer on an X-ray.

Their heaviness does help show the multi-purpose qualities of the versatile soup tin though. If its flavour doesn't appeal to you, the tin might make a nice quirky paperweight or could be equally handy as a blunt murder weapon. Make a lovely murder weapon that, wouldn't it? You'd certainly start making a name for yourself as a murderer if that was your weapon of choice. The Soup Slayer, the red tops would call you. Almost sounds worth doing for the name and the fame and notoriety. How to get to it without all that messy killing though? Hmm...

If the flavour doesn't appeal to you, and paperweights and murder aren't really your scene, you can always do what I do with a soup I don't really fancy - put it in a box marked 'post-apocalyptic nuclear bunker'. You might not fancy a minted lamb hotpot right now, but come the harsh winter of 2046, as radioactive rains fall and your comrades are considering cannibalism, you'll be mighty glad to see it. But this is not End Times 2046, it is lunchtime 2015, and right now in the land of living (pre-super mutated giraffe world domination) this soup is a palatable distraction from the rigours of being alive. It did what it set out to do. Minty. Lamby. Hotpotty. Perhaps strike that last one, but you get the idea. Satisfactory.

Chris Delamere


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