Arm Problems

A Tomato and Egg Soup Recipe

Cassette woke in a hot sweat. She peeled the covers slowly off of herself like the protective film of a new phone screen. Dazed and uncomfortable, she checked the clock. It was 1:37 AM. She had only been asleep for two hours, but was suddenly wide awake. Her entire body was wet. And it itched.
She started scratching her back, which yielded minor relief, but the itch returned the second she rolled over. After a cursory run over her chest she switched focus to her arms. Starting with the left.
As her nails scraped across her skin, the itching abated. Slightly. She drug them over her arm until they hit the spot that seemed to need the most attention. There, at the top of her forearm, just below the crease of the elbow, her fingers found a roughly half dollar sized protusion . The skin around it seemed smooth enough, but there had been nothing wrong with her arm when she had tucked herself into bed. The previously hot sweat had turned cold. The itch had grown stronger.
Shivering slightly, she dug the tips of her nails deep into the lump, but it provided minimal relief. She scratched more frantically. Her skin began to redden as she scratched away, her arm now raw and peeling. The itch intensified.
She scratched harder. The tip of her right ring fingernail snapped off. She'd just fucking painted them... She scratched harder.
She turned her bedside table light on to get a closer look. The boil had broken open and was now bleeding profusely. It wasn't the blood that gave her pause, though. It was the motion in the middle of the mess that caught her eye. There was something... wriggling... inside of it.
A small pink nub, slightly smaller than a pencil eraser, had emerged from her arm. It seemed to almost be exploring its new environment. She tried to catch it between her fingers but it proved too slippery to grasp. The itch had grown even more unbearable.
Growing more desperate, she kept grasping. Finally managing to snag it with the hook of her broken fingernail, a wave of pain shot through her arm. Cassette remained resolute. The protrusion was putting up quite the fight, but the blood had already ruined her sheets. She wasn't giving up that easily.
The more she managed to pull, the larger the nub, the wound, and the amount of blood seemed to grow. The pain was growing sharper as well, but that nagging fucking itch... She pulled harder and as the nub grew larger it began to resemble... a tongue?
The wound suddenly split open and the tongue lashed out viciously, tasting the blood, the sweat, the air itself. Around the edges of the wound, two semi circles of crimson stained white began to emerge. She gave one last sharp pull and the hook from her fingernail tore through the side of the tongue as the gums of the arm teeth came to the surface. Cassette winced and tried to catch her breath. There was intense pain in her arm and (now second) mouth. The itch was still there, but it felt different in a way.
It felt like it was hungry.
She got out of bed and grabbed a clean dish towel on the way to the kitchen. She wet the towel under the faucet and tried to wipe away the blood from the edges of the wound. It stung a bit, but the teeth nibbled at the towel and Cassette could slightly feel the texture of it through her new tongue. She wasn't big on the taste.
Discarding the towel, she headed to the fridge. Rummaging through her leftovers, she eventually found a cup of the soup she'd had for yesterday's lunch. Better than nothing she supposed, throwing it in the microwave. After forty five seconds and a little blowing over the top, she gingerly pressed the edge of the cup to her arm. The salt stung the fresh wounds, but the tongue began lapping slowly. Cassette tipped the cup a little, carefully nursing this new addition to her life.
The soup disappeared and she felt the warmth of it emanate through her body. She noticed that the itching had finally subsided and that the mouth, seemingly sated, had closed. She dabbed off the remnants of the soup with a paper towel and headed back to bed. "I think I'll call you Bob” she said.

mouth arm

Now if that didn't make you hungry, I don't know what will, but whether you have a mouth on your arm or just the one on your face, you can't go wrong with this super simple and simply delicious Tomato and Egg Soup.

The Tomato and Egg Soup


For this super simple recipe, based on a brief glance at a Chinese cookbook, you only need four things: stock, eggs, tomatoes, and some leafy greens. Chicken stock is used traditionally, but you could easily make this vegetarian by pretending chickens are actually plants.


First, you wanna slice your tomatoes. I've heard you always want to salt your fresh tomatoes right after cutting. I don't remember the reason, if any, but it does make them taste nice. This kind of tip is what separates the home cooks from the pros. Don't say I never teach you anything.

eggs in a bowl

Then you're gonna want to crack some eggs in a small bowl. You don't have to keep the yolks intact, but it does make for a prettier picture. That's why I kept every yolk in my picture intact. It doesn't actually matter because you're just gonna stir them up real nice anyway. I was apparently assuming you'd never done this before and have difficulties using your imagination because I took a picture of what that will look like.

more eggs in a bowl

Now that your prep is done, it's time to get down the the soup making. Throw your pot on the heat, drop a lil oil in there, add your eggs, and then just watch it for a while. Like, actually watch it. Pretty cool, right?

fried egg

After it gets mostly white, give it a stir. I have a picture of what it will look like after, but I feel like this is already getting heavy on the pictures and there are a lot more to come. It figures that the recipe I actually manage to make a complete photo documentary of is the one with the least to actually write about. You know what? Fuck it. It looks like this:

scramble egg

When it looks like a depiction of a million yellow souls blended together, tortured and writhing, you can go ahead and pour your broth in and bring it up to a boil. If it then doesn't end up looking like some kind of twisted eldritch horror, screaming in agony because you're boiling it to death in juices derived from its very parents, then you probably missed a step.

soup begin

Once it's at a boil you can drop those tomatoes in and let them cook until they reach your desired consistency. I should have mentioned earlier that you're usually supposed to take the skins off of them, but I heard somewhere that the skin is where all the nutrients are. This step only takes a few minutes and you'd best believe I've got a photo of this to show you as well.

toms in

Finally, to give this bad boy some color, we're gonna throw some leafy greens in there. In case you were wondering why all these pictures are from right up close, it's because my fucking housemate did who even knows what and covered the entire top of the stove, including the brand new white tea kettle, in some sort of greasy, sticky, brownish black substance and it will probably never be clean again. Anyway, I'm now going to post yet another close up picture of something that barely looks any different from the last close up picture. Because I can.

greens in

You see how nice that looks? So much better now. You only need to leaf these in for a little bit, until they start to wilt. That's right. That wasn't a spelling mistake or a Freudian slip. That was a fucking intentional pun. Mostly because I couldn't think of anything actually funny to put here. Once your greens are done, it's feeding time.

arm mouth being fed

The Finished Product

What you've just made is actually a gross approximation of what's called fanqie danhua tang. It's a beloved Sichuanese dish that has been popular since, by my approximation, at least 1996. The name translates to "tomato and egg flower soup." This seems to be because it's probably supposed to be (and what pretty much every picture that shows up when you Google "tomato and egg soup" shows) some kind of an egg drop kind of deal. Whatever. As culinary trailblazers, we eschewed the norms and put scrambled eggs in that mother fucker and there's not a god damned thing anyone can do about it. Enjoy!

final dish

The Recipe

Tomato and Egg Soup

1. Slice the tomatoes to desired size.
2. Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk vigorously.
3. Add oil to an extremely hot pot.
4. Add the eggs and cook until brown on the sides before stirring together.
5. Add the stock and bring to a boil seasoning as desired.
6. Add the tomatoes and cook about 3 minutes or until desired consistency.
7. Add in the greens and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.