The great crunchy lentil soup debacle

Last week was not a week I wanted to write about. I just feel lucky I survived it. The bruises, burns, and injuries will take longer to heal; the food poisoning was over quickly. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.

So, each February the Governor of Oregon challenges his/her employees to a food drive. Each agency then competes to raise the most food. Obviously there are divisions for small versus large agencies and other such things. This year I (foolishly) said I would be on the committee to run the food drive for my agency.

One of the ways we decided to raise money was to offer a lunch-time-break-and-game on Wednesday. I (foolishly) offered to bring the first lunch for the agency on Wednesday. I googled some low cost recipes and decided that a lentil soup with rolls would do the trick. I borrowed a co-worker’s crock pot and bought the fixin’s.

Tuesday night I chopped things, placed them into bowls, and prepared to lug three carrier bags and a crock pot to work.

The recipe said that the soup should cook for an hour. I decided to give it two hours (I mean, it’s soup, right? Who’d care if it was overcooked?)

Here’s what no one told me. Crock pots don’t cook at the same rate a pot on a stove cooks.

After an hour I asked a co-worker to come down for a taste test (the recipe had some instructions about seasoning to taste (I never have ANY idea what this means.)) She tasted it and said, “Well, the flavor is nice, but it’s stone cold.” I broke out in a cold (ha) sweat.

Another hour passed. It’s lunch time. People are circling. And the soup is still cold. Me and my co-workers announce a delayed lunch. We take it to the microwave and get it boiling. Finally it’s lunch time. They line up to dish out their soup. They sit down. The first bite…

… is crunchy.

Not like a la dente. I mean like cereal before the milk soaks in crunchy.

A few co-workers crunched merrily along. A few more decided to take it home for dinner after some additional cooking. A few others said nothing and just reached for more rolls.

You’d think this would be the end of the humiliation, right? I mean, can you readily think of a more embarrassing fiasco where everyone is fully dressed?

Thursday morning I come to work and turn on my computer. There is a gently worded warning that undercooked lentils are toxins and my co-worker now knows this because she spent the evening in the bathroom.

I will NEVER cook again for other humans. It is bad enough I occasionally make myself sick. This will the last time anyone else suffers.

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