"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Soup of the Week & The Office: Branch Closing

This chunky soup makes a great main course. Best of all, it's ready...set...serve in just 25 minutes.

Macaroni Bean Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup slice carrotts
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and rained
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a large saucepan, ring the broth, tomato juice, macaroni, carrots, and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir in the squash, beans, seasoned salt and pepper; simmer for 10 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat; stir in the Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.

The Office: Branch Closing

I've known people who have been laid off from their jobs, so this episode surely hit home .

Jan tells Michael that corporate has decided to close the Scranton office and will transfer a few staffers to the Stamford branch. Someone once said to me that you never truly find out what a person is made of until you seem him/her deal with a crisis. Watching Michael go to extremes to save his employees (and himself) showed that despite his overbearing, obnoxious, pompous personality, he does have a soul, and I ended up rooting for him to save the day. Of course, it was all moot when I learned earlier that after Josh decided to move on to Staples, the Stamford branch would be closed and merged into Scranton.

I thought Stanley's initial reaction to finding out that his job would probably be eliminated was priceless! The look on his face when he talked about retiring and taking it easy was marvelous and, of course, the disappointed demeanor he had when he learned that he would still be on the job was great too. Stanley is truly a terrific character and I would like to see an episode where he gets the bulk of the attention.

Of course, the inevitable "reunion" of Jim and Pam back in the same office was a major theme throughout this episode. They both awkwardly referred to it, but they didn't come out and say what they were feeling. Well, Jim did tell Jan that he was unsure about taking on the number two role in Scranton because of a personal situation, but in the end he took it because, frankly, he figured the job will pay him more and he gets to go back home. Plus, I know there's still something between him and Pam, and maybe he wants to take another shot at winning her. Let's not forget that Roy will be lurking about as well, albeit as an employee of a new company taking over the warehouse. However, Karen flat out admitted that she had a thing for Jim.

I have to say though that Ryan's attitude toward Kelly is getting a bit tiresome. He expresses all sorts of feelings that he doesn't want to be with her, but he attended the Diwali celebration with her and they seem to spend a lot of time together. His attempt to break up with her fell very flat, and when she ran into his arms after finding out their jobs were save, he didn't exactly resist. It's put up or shut up time for him.

Still, the attempt by Michael to imitate Michael Moore and confront the corporate bosses (with Dwight tagging along) demonstrated that he does have some backbone. OK, probably a very disjointed backbone, but give him credit for having enough guts to even attempt to carry out his and Dwight's plan.

Speaking of Dwight, how's he going to handle Jim as Michael's number two? If I thought there was tension between them before, wait until they are back in the same room again.

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