Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Soup of Desperaux

"The world is dark, and light is precious.  Come closer, dear reader.  You must trust me.  I am telling you a story."  So begins the epic tale of Desperaux Tilling, an extraordinary mouse with an extraordinary story.  The book, written by Kate DiCamillo (of Because of Winn-Dixie fame), is titled in full: The Tale of Desperaux, being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread.

The story will sound a little confusing when I try to explain it, but bear with me here, it's worth it.  First, we meet Desperaux, a young mouse with huge ears and big dreams, who is much more interested in reading books than eating them - a desire that sets him even farther apart from his peers than his physical differences.  He lives in a castle, in the walls with the other mice; Princess Pea and her father live in the main part of the building.  After reading stories about knights and chivalry, Desperaux decides he needs to meet the princess - and the two worlds collide.

In the course of the story, we also meet Miggery Sow, a servant girl who wishes she was a princess; Roscuro, a rat with a broken heart; and Cook, a cook who would love nothing more than to be making soup again, but for the fact that it has been outlawed.  I'm not going to give away too much of the story, because in order to explain it, would have to give away the whole plot, but I will say that soup, in the end, is once again legal and enjoyed; and most of the characters, if not all, live happily ever after.

I fear that I am not doing this book credit by my description, but hopefully my Desperaux-inspired meal will do it some justice.  Because soup is a prominent part of the story, and because our hero is a mouse, I have decided to make a cheddar and broccoli soup for you today.

The Soup of Desperaux
5 tbsp. butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
16 oz. bag of frozen chopped broccoli
2 14.5-oz. cans chicken broth
1/2 lb. processed cheese, like Velveeta, cubed
1 cup milk
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup corn starch
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. In a stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook until softened, which will take about 5 minutes.
2. Add the broccoli and the chicken broth, and over medium-low heat until the broccoli is cooked, which will take about 15 minutes.
3. Add the cheese cubes, stirring until they are all melted into the mixture.  Stir in the milk and the garlic powder.
4. In a small bowl, mix the water with the corn starch; add this mixture to the soup and stir until thickened, and serve in a bowl, topped with cheddar cheese if desired.  It is especially good with some crusty bread on the side.

This recipe is adapted only very slightly from the Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe found on the All Recipes website.


  1. Thanks for this Kat! I recently had a guest poster include The Tale of Desperaux in a list so I've added this post to the comments of that blog post:

  2. I absolutely love your blog!

    A fellow teacher,
    Miss Giddio