The Joys of Soup

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I’m not certain what happened, but last Wednesday morning I awoke with the certainty I would cry or break something precious if I didn’t take a break from writing. See, for months now (my family would argue years), a good portion of my waking life has gone into learning about writing, actual moments of writing, anticipating writing, sharing what I know about writing, and critiquing writing. It got to the point we joked the black center of my eyes were no longer pupils, but periods. Then, for whatever reason, it was suddenly too much.

So I took a break and found it delicious.

I mean that in the literal, as well as the metaphoric sense. Turns out a remarkable thing happens when you remove your nose from a book or computer: not only do you come to understand how many significant things you’ve let slip in your absence, but also how many simple pleasures you’ve denied yourself merely because you’re unaware of them. Like soup.

I love soup, as does my family. There’s something about taking a hodge-podge of ingredients and converting it into something edible, that feeds my soul as well as my belly. Veggies a little past their prime? Check. Three jars of salsa, each with 1 Tbsp. of sauce in them? Check. Leftover rice? Check. Saute an onion, add stock, some herbs and spices and voila! Magic. A clean fridge, thriftiness, respect for the environment, health and creativity all in one non-stick pan. What’s not to like? It’s one of those simple joys that fill me with a sense of abundance.

Along that vein, will you do me a favor? If you notice I’m getting a little too serious around here, will you tell me to set the pen down and pick up a ladle instead? Please?

How about you? What’s your favorite soup? (Mine’s lemon lentil, and if enough people ask, I’ll post the recipe.) Can you make soup without a recipe? Do you suppose in Japan they make kanji-shaped noodles? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever put in soup?

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9 thoughts on “The Joys of Soup

  1. Hope — Though happy you received a well-deserved break, I am happier still you’re back, and in fine form. We had soup last week (from the can, but still…) and I’d forgotten how much we enjoy it. I’d be interested in the lemon lentil soup recipe…

    You know I can’t cook but when I was a reporter in Bonnyville, I had the pleasure of attending a real Pow Wow at Kehewin. My hosts prepared me a special meal – and as the guest of honour, I received the – ahem – best part. It was Moose Nose Soup 🙂 (Um…yum?)

  2. I love soup, but certain members of my family are very suspicious of food unless they know all the ingredients, especially if something green shows up in stew. They act like I have secretly gone outside and rounded up frogs to chop up. Sorry, that was kind of gross, but that’s the reaction I get. I love black bean soup, and lentil soup and chili. Yum, maybe I’ll make some for dinner.

  3. Post the recipe, Hope! 🙂
    Soup is the ultimate comfort food! When I was still single and really poor, my vegan sister and I would make, “Clean the Cupboards Soup” It started with a couple of packages of Ichiban, and went from there. Little bits of everything went in. I think peanut butter made it in once.. Onions, garlic, and peppers…Sometimes ketchup and relish. You ask about the strangest ingredient? I don’t know, maybe plum sauce. We used it all and no two soups were ever the same.
    Some were better than others :S It wasn’t just a comfort food, now it’s a great memory!


  4. Dawn, eeewwwww. Of course, when I consider what I used to eat in the form of wieners, it seems petty to complain. 8)

    Dee, LOL on the chopped green frogs. I have one of those kids too. I make a black bean soup that to my eyes looks very unappealing (but is delicious) and he’ll gulp it down. But put anything related to broccoli near a meal and you’d think I’d committed genocide.

    Lydia, I’d be happy to post the recipe. Will put it in a separate post, just to make it easy to print if anyone wishes.

    Donna, plum sauce, huh? I bet that would work with other Asian flavors. Will have to think about that for a while. I would think relish would be delish. My BIL makes a killer pickle soup, and I have been known to use sauerkraut in soup too. So that would work for me.

  5. I am NOT a vegan, but into healthy eatin’ with beef, chicken, pork & fish. Am I an outlaw here????
    A good beef or chicken soup starts with a saute of 1 c. each onions, celery &1/4c. green pepper in 2 tbsp. of butter in a large stock pot. When browned add boneless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts)… or for a beef soup add a 1- 1/2 pound boneless chuck roast. Fill pot 3/4 with water, then add 6 oz. can tomato sauce ( or fresh tomatoes),carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans plus 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic pwdr. & red pepper and 1/2 tsp. each sage,oregeno, thyme. Add 1 tbsp. dried parsley plus 1/4 c. barley. simmer 4-5 hrs. Remove meat/ or chicken to plate and cut into pieces, returning to pot. Add peas, corn and noodles or my favorite pasta which is lasagna noodles crumbled into small pieces. Add 1 tsp. onion powder and 1/2 tsp. more salt. cook 1 hour longer. guaranteed to be the BEST soup you’ve ever tasted!!!. freeze portions to surprise family on a cold winter day.

  6. Carol, last time I looked there was no “wanted” poster on my wall with your mug shot, LOL.

    This sounds delicious. In the days I ate meat, I’m sure I would have enjoyed this and I’m sure a few of my readers will even now. Thanks for sharing.

  7. First of all, you have snow falling on your page…not nice to do to someone with macular degeneration! I thought my eyes had taken a turn for the worse! Ok, it’s pretty…

    I took the opposite route from you. Last winter I was baking. Everything. Mounds of cookies, different breads everyday, sending it all with my husband for the people at his work. I knew that I couldn’t afford to keep feeding the world, so I sat down and started writing.

    1. LOL, sorry about the snowflake confusion, Laura.

      If I were baking for the world, I’d have to quit too, although for a different reason: my waistline. Somehow I never seem to overdose when it comes to soup. Why is that, exactly?

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