When the rain starts and the temperature falls and the nights draw in, my mind turns to soup. Specifically, tomato soup. Perhaps because tomato soup is, to me, the cure for all ills. As a child, a tin of Heinz tomato soup was like penicillin in our house: it could remedy almost any ailment from a grazed knee to a chill caught after a reckless trip in a rowing boat during a rainstorm. It was what you took on caravan holidays, where succour was always necessary. It was where you turned when you wanted satisfying, flavoursome coziness but couldn’t find anything to eat in the kitchen (not because the cupboards were bare, but because you were nine and too short to see beyond the first shelf of the kitchen cupboard where the tins lived). It was what you stuck in the microwave to eat on a Sunday afternoon in front of Star Wars videos.
Since then my tomato soup has been gentrified. Gone is the tin and the microwave, replaced instead by homegrown tomatoes and obscure kitchen gadgetry. But it still has the same effect: cockle-warming comfort for an autumn day.