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Posts Tagged ‘Soup’

I saw a meme the other day that went something like this, “There will be 2 types of people on the other side of this quarantine: great cooks and alcoholics!” Let’s all strive for the former.

While Bob and I were chopping up nuts and apples for our virtual Passover Seder, I started thinking about food and our relationship to it – do we live to eat, or eat to live? Now, our days revolve around meals like never before. What kind of traditional foods would we need at this year’s Seder table? What could we do without, since it’s just the 2 of us?

What could we even order on Shipt? Horseradish? Would grape juice be just as good as Kosher wine?

Then I started to wonder if people were going to cook a big ham, studded with pineapples and cherries for Easter? Is everybody still coloring eggs even if there are no little children to hunt for them? Today is Good Friday, and as far back as I can remember it was always pretty unremarkable. The statues and the crucifix at Sacred Heart Church were covered in purple cloth, the mood was always sombre. At home, we gave up meat, so I either ate shrimp or fish sticks!

In Ireland, people will plant root vegetables, especially potatoes today:

“…most had a custom of setting their scealláin, or seed potatoes, on Good Friday when it fell in March. This was termed putting down the early pot”, and the people worked each day from Good Friday until they had set all the potatoes.

If Good Friday was late, and fell in April, it was seen as the point up to which such work should focus. In any case, it was imperative that all the spuds be covered before the cuckoo was heard. Nobody wanted to be a “cuckoo farmer”  https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/10-good-friday-traditions-you-ve-never-heard-of-1.3864889

My foster mother Nell was never a great cook, admitting that if it didn’t come in a can she didn’t know what to do with it. But her one reliable, home-cooked, go-to, comfort meal was pork chops and applesauce, with a side of french fries. This was always a special treat, along with her once a year “Haloopkies.” Pork stuffed cabbage simmered in sauerkraut accompanied by rye bread and butter, nirvana for me in the 1950s.

But I inherited my love of cooking from my mother, the Flapper. Almost every weekend I’d watch her chop, cook and bake delicious meals for her diverse family of Catholic and Jewish kids. She abhorred waste, like many Depression-era women before her, so she’d always make a soup out of leftover pot roast with barley or a mulligatawny stew out of whatever was left in the refrigerator.

I just looked up the word “mulligatawny” since I thought it was a word she made up, but no. In fact, it’s a curry stew! The Flapper loved to embellish the truth, which I hated at first, but came to enjoy with my siblings. If someone dared to ask her if a dessert was homemade, she’d proudly say “Of course!” But you never really knew.

The first dish I cooked last month as the pandemic was looming large was chicken chili. It was the last night we had our Grands sleepover, before we were told to shelter in place. I added whatever vegetables I had left in the refrigerator to the pot, plus 2 cans of beans. I chopped up a poblano pepper for a slight whiff of heat, and served it beside sliced avocado and of course, bread and butter. It was a hit with the Bug and the Pumpkin!

Bob’s got his raised bed planted and we have already picked spinach. We ordered food from Shipt online and were delighted, I may never set foot in a grocery store again.  Never thought I’d ever have someone else do my grocery shopping, but here we are in this brave new world. Searching our pantries for lentils and flour, or matzoh, and remembering how cooking can nourish the soul.

I sent Bob over to Ms Berdelle with some chicken soup last night. Maybe I should start a chicken soup food truck when this over? He ran a pretty great Zoom Seder for our family and friends, from 3 years old to 95! It’s time to clean out the cobwebs in our homes and our minds; this is the season to declutter, to wash our patio furniture, to renew our lives, to plant and welcome fresh air and sunlight into our cloistered homes.

This is the season to stay at home and save lives.

I hope that cooking brings you joy during this lonely, holy week, and that your pantry stays stocked with your choice of beverage. Below Bob is setting up the Zoom Seder, while I prepare the Seder plate.

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Does wisdom really come with age?

Or is it just another word, in a cacophony of Tweets by this President, meant to deflect our slow but steady march to impeachment? Bob has been saying for days that starting a war would win him the next election. But after trying to tarnish his front-runner, Joe Biden, and watching Bernie Sanders succumb to an MI, maybe Mr T thinks abandoning our allies in Syria will turn the tide.

After all, we’re not talking Ukraine today.

Today, my 92 year old neighbor and friend, Berdelle, will be meeting up with 95 year old President Jimmy Carter to jockey a nail gun with Habitat for Humanity. Sporting a black eye and 14 stitches from a recent fall, this ex-President has more wisdom in his little finger than the current inhabitant of the West Wing. He arrived in Nashville yesterday with the much-needed rain:

“Country music singer Eric Paslay performed “Deep as it is Wide,” a song he penned about the hope for something bigger and better than us.

“In a land full of songwriters and singers, we’re always trying to say I love you in a different way,” he (Carter) told the Habitat volunteers huddled under a white tent and sheltered from the morning’s storms. 

“… It’s amazing how Habitat shows love to the world. You can say I love you, but when you go out with your hands and your feet, that’s the strongest way. You don’t even have to say anything.'”  https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2019/10/08/president-jimmy-carter-nashville-habitat/2432826001/

Actions do speak louder than words. And my way of showing love to my family has always been with my cooking. Ever since the temperatures have started to fall, I’ve been making soup. There’s just something about a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove that says comfort food. Since I had a couple of sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, yesterday I made the Bride’s special Peanut Soup! Mostly it’s carrots, onions and sweet potatoes, with a kick of ginger and peanut butter.

Bob delivered said soup to Ms Berdelle while they were planning a Fall garden. I had never heard of a “Fall garden,” planting vegetables like kale in October. My past Yankee experience was limited to planting bulbs in the Fall. Wisdom comes with so many lessons; love is in the details. Like spreading seeds and plants throughout your urban neighborhood. Like getting up when you fall, and fulfilling a promise to build homes in Nashville.

This is what true leadership and wisdom looks like.

Hands building homes instead of typing off Twitter tirades. I mean, if the Lords of Twitter can block you for hate speech, or trolling a celebrity, or showing your breasts, then why can’t our Golfer-in-Chief be blocked for spreading lies? He’s threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” the Turkish economy, while polling for impeachment climbs to 58%. I was wondering what might convince his Republican comrades he’s run amuck.

The chaos Mr T’s Twitter feed has created is unmatched in history. I prefer to chop up the holy trinity of onions, celery and carrots for a soup base, and maybe add fresh sage for wisdom.

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I don’t know about you, but when I heard Ted Cruz’ wife Heidi say that the first thing he did after they were married was to buy 100 cans of soup, I was shocked. I knew this had to be some clue, some secret scientific device that would help us dig deep into his brain. We already know Cruz is an absolutist, you’re either on the dark side or the light side of his universe. But 100 cans of soup? http://gawker.com/after-his-honeymoon-ted-cruz-immediately-bought-100-ca-1770893594

When Heidi questioned her newlywed about his motivations, he said, “I know you. You won’t be making things.”

Now soup is a comfort food. For me it’s homemade soup, but hey what kid would pass up some tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich? And if you grow up into a man who doesn’t know a pot from a pan, who likes to stand in front of the refrigerator and eat whatever catches his fancy, standing up while swigging milk from the carton, well you might just worry about your future meals. Particularly if you marry a woman who avoids the kitchen.

But the more troubling part of the story is that Heidi took all that soup back to the store – then she called her mom who told her to go right back and buy that soup and replace it in the pantry! So, it’s like a lesson on being submissive, being a good God-fearing Christian wife who is dominated by her husband. Yessiree ladies. Make sure he knows he’s the boss!

Then I found out that early in their career they lived separately, for 7 years in Texas. And that Heidi had moved there for his political career but didn’t really fit in. That she was found wandering around a highway with her head in her hands one night http://theweek.com/speedreads/602452/ted-cruz-wife-lived-apart-first-7-years-marriage

Now I have some sympathy for this woman. The woman that Trump’s campaign smeared. I know what it’s like to move to a place for your husband’s career and though I never wandered onto a freeway exit ramp, I did have my existential moments. Wondering why I was surrounded by women who could only talk about their nails. Feeling like a duck out of water.

What I wouldn’t give to have a sit-down with Heidi. I’d tell her that it’s not all about the Lord and her job at Goldman Sachs. I’d tell her that her husband has no chance at winning the Presidency. It’s about what this country stands for, the freedom to do things our way, to forge ahead and make our own choices. I’d tell her that food is love, and she should start listening to herself and nobody else. You might want to keep a can of Cream of Mushroom soup around in case you need to make a casserole. But definitely, learn how to bake a killer meatloaf. This is my turkey mushroom meatloaf, wrapped in bacon and it doesn’t get much better than this!IMG_3806

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When life gets complicated, I like to cook. Something about preparing a hearty soup is good for my soul and the family. Trouble is, I still cook for 4, even though we are just 2 now. Since the garden is just getting started, we had to get most of the ingredients from our Whole Foods; which btw, is having a half-price sale June 5th before they move into their humongous new building! Start to saute with the holy trinity + garlic. Collect all your fresh vegetables and boil!

Holy Trinity + garlic

the Power of Kale

Simmer 20 minutes

This is the second recipe to be passed down to the Bride. The first was a 3 layer carrot cake with toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. Making vegetable soup is the only time you will find Bob in the kitchen. We enjoy making this together, washing and chopping, dancing and tasting. One of our first attempts back north was pure slapstick.

Prince Michel white wedding wine!

There were 2 sinks in that kitchen, and the smaller one erupted in a geyser of green water after Bob finished putting a little too much refuse through the garbage disposal of the bigger sink! Live and learn…please see comments for recipe.

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