One medium onion and three stalks of celery, diced fine and sauteed in several tablespoons worth of olive oil. It doesn’t matter whether it’s extra virgin or not – people say it makes a difference, but that’s not right. Flour. An equal amount of milk and broth. I like to use soy milk and vegetable broth (a hold over from my days with the hippies and the punks) but, again, it doesn’t matter. Use cream and beef stock if you want, unless you’re kosher, in which case you’re probably going to want to use chicken broth and you might want to use unbleached flour, since they usually bleach flour with beef char, and you might, all unintentionally, mix parent and child in your stomach and that would be bad. Anyway, when that’s thickened, add the corn and the lima beans and the tomatoes and let that simmer for a while.
At the end add some cheese and hot sauce and salt and pepper. It doesn’t matter how much you put in, or it does, but it doesn’t matter the exact amount. It’s a matter of taste.
Afterwards, you can eat it, if you want; the soup you’ve made goes well with a simple green salad and sourdough bread, but it’s not the food that matters, not the calories and flavors and spices that suffer under the whip of the heat. The food is a symbol. If you’re lucky, eat it with someone else, and don’t even remember what it tasted like.