Extra, Extra: Eat All About It!
Now, this came in the TOS section of the cookbook, so I really thought it was the one to follow. First of all, "Kirk's Plomeek Soup"? And that could be since when? That man has to take credit for EVERYTHING, doesn't he? There is absolutely NO REASON IN HELL why this shouldn't be "Nurse Chapel's Plomeek Soup" -- the poor woman had it thrown at her, after all! Please tell me any other time that plomeek soup was made in TOS by Kirk. You can't, can you? Because it NEVER HAPPENED! They even have Nurse Chapel's picture next to the recipe. I just don't get it. Either Neelix is an idiot or Kirk is a scene-stealing, recipe-grubbing jackass -- which reality do you want to live in? I'll give you some time with that and move on.
Neelix's notes say that "Captain Kirk's" version (can you hear the disdain in my voice?) differs from his in "some significant ways." Neelix claims that it's "creamier and spicier." Well, since there's half of a cup of heavy cream -- and noted that it's optional -- I understand half that statement. But as for spiciness? There isn't any. There's a measly teaspoon of ground pepper -- the recipe doesn't specify black, white, cayenne, or chili -- which wouldn't add much heat at all. Neelix aside, his editor really should have been checking for stuff like this. Vulcan is a hot planet, and I personally think this soup should reflect that.
That brings up an interesting thought. Supposedly so much of Earth food can upset a Vulcan GI tract, but I always supposed the reasoning behind that to be that Earth food has too much flavor. What if it's the opposite? What if the Vulcan system is so used to hot and spicy stuff that it's the blander stuff that has them running for the lemon-flavored chewable M'alox? Also, this recipe has a full cup of butter AND heavy cream -- how do the Vulcans keep their slim figures with that kind of stuff? I asked the Evil Dr. Mathra that, and he responded with, "Are Vulcans vegan?" Another interesting question. If they are opposed to eating animal flesh, are they likewise grossed out by animal byproducts? Personally, with all that butter, I think adding cream is a bit much.
After I got done dicing the celery, carrots, and onions, I melted the butter. Then I noted that the recipe called for the carrots to be added and "browned" a full thirty minutes before the celery. Uh, oops? I stupidly thought the carrots and celery would go in together, so I put them in the same bowl. In order to preserve the integrity of the recipe, I painstakingly separated the four cups of diced carrots from the five cups of diced celery and added the carrots. Alone. Thirty minutes went by, and the carrots didn't brown. The heat was on low, just as the recipe stipulated, but not a whole lot was going on. I raised the heat one notch for another ten minutes. Nothing. Then another notch, and another ten minutes later the carrots were still nice and orange, no sign of browning. This, again, is how recipes can lead you astray. Since the butter was now turning brown and would eventually burn, I went on with the recipe as though the carrots had browned.