Have you ever noticed how so many cafes have Pumpkin Soup on the menu? Now we’re in official soup season we might see some specials of a variety of different soups but Pumpkin Soup is on the printed, year round menu.
In my expert, soup-eating-cafe-crawling opinion there are three main reasons this is so.
1. It’s easy.
Like, super easy! At its most basic – you chop up some pumpkin, maybe add an onion, boil it to death in some chicken stock, blend it up and there you go. A dash of cream, a sprinkle of chives and some crusty bread on the side and it’s cafe ready.
2. It’s safe.
For the non-adventurous diner, Pumpkin Soup is a low risk order. “Hmm Pumpkin Soup, I wonder what that might be?” It’s soup, made from pumpkins. You know what you’re gonna get.
3. It’s available.
A nice big pot of soup, frozen into individual serves is perfect for a quick buzz in the mickey-groover (aka microwave) ready to serve on demand.
Now, I’ve had my share of Pumpkin Soups when working in cafes and looking for a simple, low cost lunch option to fuel my writing. But every time I do, the above three thoughts come to mind. Because 1. I don’t like ordering (or paying for) things I know I could make at home, 2. I enjoy dining out for stretching my culinary palette – give me some Morrocan spices, give me an ingredient I don’t recognise that makes me feel like I’m being a little daring to order it. And 3. I want to see my lunch served from that big steaming pot of yumminess or see a pile of vegetable scraps being scraped into a bin that make me think there may still be some nutrients active in my food.
In context to these thoughts – I wonder if cafes aren’t missing the opportunity to show themselves as more creative, current or keen to bring us on something of a culinary journey each time they choose Pumpkin Soup over the myriad of other winter warmers that might be available? A Pumpkin Soup mindset might be easy, familiar, safe and practical – but it’s hardly going to set the cafe world alight or bring any great education or change to the palettes of cafe crawlers.
Which made me wonder, where else does the Pumpkin Soup mindset manifest itself? The answer that first came to mind was, “pretty much everywhere” but the thought that quickly followed (associated with feelings of frustration and discomfort) was “in church life; in our faith”.
The Pumpkin Soup mindset is the enemy of relationships, church cultures, faith walks, communities and families that we desire to be dynamic, vibrant, thriving and growing.
How often are we tempted to make choices based on what is easy, safe and available when none of those things is likely to bring about best outcomes? Where in the call to be a disciple or make disciples was easy, safe and available part of the deal? I’m not talking complicated, unsafe and exceptionally difficult just for the sake of it, but when we’re looking to grow in our personal faith or to encourage our faith communities to greater obedience, greater acts of love and service, greater witness – the Pumpkin Soup mindset is just not going to cut it.
Next time you’re in a planning meeting, chatting over a problem with a friend, making a big decision, looking to God for guidance on an issue, choosing a course of action, or seeking to grow in your faith, reject the Pumpkin Soup mindset. Be ready to explore a variety of flavours, ingredients or cuisines – be open to the challenge, the unknown, the extra effort and the faith-required options that God might call you through to His best.