Soup is surely the ultimate food. From thepoorest of the poor standing in the streetbeside a soup kitchen to the richest of therich at a posh dinner party, we can all eatsoup. Be it a hot Mediterranean summersday or a cold wet Scottish autumn one thereis a soup that is just right. It will match yourmood – from comforting and warm to spicy and exotic, full of unknown promise like afirst date. Feeling alone and miserable? Justcuddle up to a bowl of soup by the fire,watch the telly and stuff the world out there.Or have friends round for lunch and put apanfull of soup on the table surrounded by bread, cheese and beer and let everybody help themselves. In a hurry? Make itinstantly from a packet all glutinous and fullof strange plasticky vegetables. Or takeyour time, like I will today and make a bigpan full of velvety pumpkin soup for thefamily tonight. It will bubble away quietly while I get on with other things and if anybody is late, no worries, it only getsbetter whilst sitting keeping warm.