Sunday, February 25, 2007

La Toot, Haltwhistle

After years of enjoying Maggie’s wonderful homemade soups I had forgotten that Knorr still made their unique mixture of powdered chemicals which, apparently, if you add hot water to and stir for a few minutes is supposed to resemble soup. It certainly resembles a vile, glutinous, chemical-tasting liquid, but to use the word “soup” to describe it is rather like using the word “chateau” to describe an outhouse.

La Toot gift and coffee shop in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, charges you £3.50 per bowl for this stuff that has an aftertaste that even garlic-stuffed sardines wouldn’t shift.

We won’t be going there again.
.

32 comments:

Kate said...

£3.50 for a bowl of instant soup - talk about a licence to print money.

Carole said...

La Toot, Haltwhistle? I just want to go there for the name. I will avoid the soup though. Finding your blog to be extremely interesting and thought provoking, I have just recently started one. And because your ramblings have inspired me I put a link on my blog to yours.(If this is not okay, let me know.) Have a great day and continue to entertain, inspire heavy thinking, and make us laugh.

cabronsito said...

You´re sooo right, Kim!
The bad news is that children aparently like this kind of food. At least the children I know.
Unfortunally the days we´re living in it seems to be more important to them how food looks like than the taste. (McDonald´s, BK, Knorr-Mickey-Mouse ....)
And a lot of parents don´t fight this part of evolution anymore.
"Give them what they want and they´ll leave you in peace" is the formula. Education on the 21st century level.
Terrible!!

By the way, yesterday I wrote an article related to the World Down Syndrom Day ... an guess what: in English!!! ;-)
(just in case you´re interested)
The more you ignore me the closer I Get

Kim Ayres said...

Kate - Especialy as there are loads of really good cafes that serve genuinely homemade soups for less than £3. I guess what I'm really mad about is that I didn't say anything. We just hurried up and left, not sticking around for a coffee or cake.

Carole - don't hide it then - what's your blog address?

Carbonsito - I didn't know there was a World Down Syndrome Day. Thanks for letting me know.

quinn said...

nothing compares to home made!!!!

Kim Ayres said...

Quinn - this is true. By the way, I was forced to convert to New Blogger a couple of weeks ago, so you might be able to comment by logging in with your blogger/google ID.

34quinn said...

Well,, then lemme give it a go here..

Resident Alien said...

Carole is right: La Toot, Haltwhistle is worth visiting for the great name. But thanks for the heads-up about the soup -- we'll give it a miss. £3.50 for instant soup when I can clean out my fridge and practically get a whole pot for free? I've got better uses for my money.

A friend of mine recently made her daughters clam chowder the old-fashioned way and said it took her hours. Her kids wouldn't eat it; it didn't taste right. Not enough E-numbers, modified food starch, stabilizers, MSG -- and what have you.

I've never cooked soup from cans and am amazed at the number of people who don't understand how easy it is. You don't even have to wait until it's time to clean out your vegetable larder! And you can leave all that artificial nonsense out of your soup and your kids will never think that it doesn't taste right because that is all they will know.

Gyrobo said...

I'm having an uncomfortable realization regarding my purchase of Château Dépendance.

Carole said...

Well I was hoping to wait until I learned a little more about blogging and had several posts under my belt, but since you insist my blog is http://carolemorden.blogspot.com/

Kim Ayres said...

Quinn - aha! you made it!

Resident Alien - You're right, it's the tastes you're used to. Our kids have grown up on Maggie's soup so don't have the cravings for instant stuff.

Gyrobo - time for a renovation?

Carole - I'll pop across now to say hello :)

Pendullum said...

What a lot of money for a bowl of salt...

Kate said...

I'm not surprisd you didn't stick around for cake and coffee, I hate to think how much they would have charged for that.

You are right, loads of places sell really good soup for far less than that. One I like in town, sells rather nice chicken salads for only £3.75 - and it's real food, not out of a packet.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I make a mean lentil vegetable soup. It's all about the bay leaves. And I'm really modest.

Kim Ayres said...

Pendullum - don't do them a disservice now - there was plenty of MSG too.

Kate - you mean their chicken doesn't come in powder form from a packet, ready to be reconsititued?

Sam - modesty is a seriously over-rated virtue in my opinion. In fact it could really do with making less fuss and noise about itself.

PI said...

I want Maggie's soup and I want it now!!!

restaurant gal said...

Finally, a restaurant post from you. Feel free to guest post on my site any time!

Best, The Gal

Kitchen Bitch said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the fact that you didn't complain about the 'soup', I have found that the staff at such places just look at me in disbelief when I complain of such things. They think their wares are just dandy. I remember a radio programme from years ago where Egon Ronay went to motorway service stations in an attempt to improve the 'food'in such places. He was met with utter bewliderment by the manager of one place when he told him the food was barely edible. The poor man had done his best to produce the most delicious meal he could. He just didn't know what good food was.

Glad to hear that you're children have always had real food. The only way to tackle the problem is to give our kids the real thing from the minute they begin to eat. Difficult, though, in these times of both parents working long hours, but not impossible I feel.

Is there a website, or even a blog, that highlights the best places to grab something nourishing, tasty and good value to eat around the country?

Open Grove Claudia said...

I'm hungry for Maggie's soups! What is her secret??

Instant soup.... scary!

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - there's usually a pot on the go most lunchtimes if your passing :)

RG - sounds interesting.I've never guest posted on a blog before. I'll give it serious consideration

Kitchen Bitch - Maggie was vegetarian up until the last year or 2, so the kids grew up on a primarily vegetarian diet. Consequently they're pretty good at eating their fruit & veg

Claudia - I've asked her about this before and she insists there is no secret - just take your veg, throw it in a pot with some water or stock and simmer for a while. Mash it up and voila - soup. Very easy and very healthy.

PI said...

My Ma in law - Scottish and quite canny - when she was old and frail would give us Heinz Tomato soup to which she added loads of fresh toms and goodness kinows what else.
We told her how much we enjoyed her 'home made soup'.

Dr Maroon said...

Knorr packet soups are tip-top!

Godamn food police!

Dr Maroon said...

Resevoir COGS!
just seen it.
I could greet
you turn your back for just six weeks etc.
gotta fly.

Kim Ayres said...

Doc, is that greet with horror or greet with joy?

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - don't we all have a soft spot for Heinz Tomato soup?

SafeTinspector said...

knorr appears here in both the Polish specialty shops (in Polish) and in the boullion-base section of the grocers. I've had their chicken broth, and it was warm and flavorless. Much like water tinged with yellow die #4

BStrong said...

I will be having a chemically infused Cup-O-Soup later on. Oh look, 310 calories/130 Calories from fat/ 8g of Saturated fat/ and get this 1,090mg of sodium. But hey, no cholesterol.

Kim Ayres said...

And ya didn't invite me over to join you?

JemimaDaisyProudfoot said...

Being a Haltwhistlian myself, I have got to say; Not only do I think that the soup, and everything else provided by La Toot is top notch. I have never been into a more inviting cafe. When I first went in Mike and his wife playing guitars and chatting with their customers and Jayna, the waitress, was polite and quite funny. Just so you know, the soup is homemade. How about we ramble about things we know about?

Kim Ayres said...

JDP - perhaps it is, perhaps it was just a one-off that coincindentally happened on the day my wife and I went in.

However, I do ramble about things I know about. Were you in there late February 2007? Did I say they weren't friendly? Did I criticise anyone's guitar playing?

What I know is it tasted as I described in my post, and my wife and I left disappointed

And while looking at some of the stuff at the back of the shop, I could see into the kitchen area, and on the top was a large box of Knorr.

I sincerely hope they now do home made soup which is properly home made, and if they do, then they will attract back customers who go there.

e932086a-5e95-11e0-a67f-000bcdcb471e said...

Just so you know La Toot has now been taken over from January 2011. The soup is home made as is most of our foods including the scones which are made fresh daily. Please come back and try again when your next in the area.

Kim Ayres said...

e932086a-5e95-11e0-a67f-000bcdcb471e - if you care to leave a real name and identity, I'll make an update to the main post to say it is now in new hands :)