Soup is surely the ultimate food. From the poorest of the poor standing in the street beside a soup kitchen to the richest of the rich at a posh dinner party, we can all eat soup. Be it a hot Mediterranean summers day or a cold wet Scottish autumn one there is a soup that is just right. It will match your mood – from comforting and warm to spicy and exotic, full of unknown promise like a first date. Feeling alone and miserable? Just cuddle 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 a panfull of soup on the table surrounded by bread, cheese and beer and let everybody help themselves. In a hurry? Make it instantly from a packet all glutinous and full of strange plasticky vegetables. Or take your time, like I will today and make a big pan full of velvety pumpkin soup for the family tonight. It will bubble away quietly while I get on with other things and if anybody is late, no worries, it only gets better whilst sitting keeping warm.