Graham Carter - the voice of age and experience

THOSE suffering withdrawal symptoms, now that Bake Off has finished, may wish to know that my wife and I have starting experimenting with soup recipes.

And it could get interesting.

Although I acknowledge there are a lot of people who enjoy watching somebody they don’t know bake a cake they can’t eat, I am afraid I find the format no more entertaining than cutting toe nails or putting the bins out.

But if that’s your idea of fun, then by all means pop round and see our soup in the making. Just be warned about the bad language.

You see, I have just bought an automatic soup maker and I have to report that, so far, it is a case of a gadget too far.

I bought it on the recommendation of my sister-in-law, and as she is an excellent cook, it seemed like a good idea at the time. According to her, you just bung the ingredients in, turn it on, and 20 minutes later a steaming-hot jugful of delicious soup has magically appeared before your very eyes.

She was only half right. A jug of soup did magically appear, and Heinz and Campbell’s would have been delighted with the way it looked, but only a starving man would have called it ‘delicious’.

There was one massive flaw in our plan, and it was this: my sister-in-law, being a whizz in the kitchen, knows what ingredients to bung in.

We made the mistake of thinking that if you just chucked in various things that you like, you couldn’t fail to end up with tasty soup at the end of it. How wrong we were.

No matter how impressive the automation of the gadget is, there is no getting away from the fact that you still need some culinary skills to choose the correct ingredients in the right proportions.

And it’s no use getting on the internet for help, either. There are so many recipes out there that if you lived long enough to try every one, you would end up with enough soup to fill the Atlantic Ocean.

There is absolutely no way of telling which are any good until you have made them yourself.

I am sure that the perfect recipe is out there, waiting to be discovered, but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

To find it you would have to wade through pages and pages promising ‘the best 10 soup recipes’, ‘the best 20 soup recipes’ and so on, until the word ‘best’ becomes meaningless.

And the search for soup recipes is a minefield, anyway, because the most prominent among them are guaranteed to be the least palatable.

As I see it, there are two types of people in the world: the kind who adore vegetables - and good luck to them - and then there are people like me who think there are a million things in the world they would choose to eat before butternut squash soup, and one of those is shoe polish.

Yet every person - and I mean every single one - I have mentioned the soup maker to has offered to give me their recipe for butternut squash soup.

This seems to be telling me something about the kind of people who make their own soup, and how I seem to be bidding against myself to think I can ever be one of them.

And now my wife, who is renowned for her dubious taste, is threatening to break ranks and make some butternut squash soup.

Not in my soup maker you won’t. Not unless you want to be called the Soup Dragon for the rest of your days.