This post is dedicated to my daughter, Blake………..
January is upon us. I am thinking of the promises I have made to myself, I am working on them, keeping my promises to myself……What I am thinking about is soup. Soup, soup and more soup. Soup is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. It is my favorite thing to cook. It is my favorite thing to make for others. Soup recipes are my favorite ones to share. Teaching people to make soup is one of my favorite things to do. I have a connection to my daughter with soup. She is making it professionally as I once did, I enjoy nothing more than hearing what kind of soup she is making and how she is making it. My hat is off to the chef! Soup, certainly one of life’s greatest meals. It is meant for sharing. It is meant to comfort, it is a culinary healer. I see January as a vast sea of calm. It is a quiet month. It is the month I re-group. It is the month I read new books. I save books to begin reading in January. The read always seem better in January. It is the month I dream of spring. It is the month I make soup, a lot of soup. I collect recipes all year. I make soup all year-long. I discover new recipes and I set them aside for The January Soup Festival. You know, there’s Woman’s History Month and Black History Month, well in our house, we have Soup Month. I love to cook. I did it for a long time professionally, I worked as a chef. I am a good cook. I enjoy it, I am completely passionate about it. My great cooking skills have enhanced my marriage. I have a great guy to cook for. He is grateful for my cooking, he loves my cooking. There is only one thing I have made for John that he did not care for, Cuban Pork Roast. Let’s just say I have a captive audience.
Soup is my greatest culinary pleasure. If you make a great soup, chances are you are a great cook. I have gotten my recipes out in preparation for Soup Month. We will take down the Christmas tree and Soup Month will commence. We look forward to it. I love the process, the recipes, the grocery lists, the marketing, making the stock, prepping the soup, making the soup, and drum roll, eating the soup. Soup is mom and apple pie to me, it is comfort, it is home and it feeds my soul.
During my illustrious career as a cook, I was the head chef at a small eat-in, take-out shop in Vermont. I am very proud of my work there, I learned many of things there that fine turned my skills. We procured delicious fresh raw ingredients to prepare amazing, delicious fresh food. We had a wonderful lunch crowd, a line out the door crowd. We were steadily busy usually for two hours. This is where my love affair with soup began, I had some incredible teachers. We offered three soups each day. We had a chowder, a vegetarian soup and one other like Beef Barley. We sold 1/2 pints and pints. Our baker made delicious fresh rolls, sourdough, rye, and whole wheat. Folks ordered soup with a roll. We spilt the rolls and slathered them with butter. Off the folks would go, certain to be delighted. We had big soup fan club, it was a delight to me. We had an open kitchen, long before it was hip. I could see the front door. I loved the open kitchen. I would spend the lunch rush out working the counter, I enjoyed the contact with the customers. I took their words seriously.
One day a regular customer, a man, a quiet man, he came in alone, after the rush. He never said much. He always took his food to go. There was an old mill near-by that had been renovated in to artist studios. I knew he was a sculptor, his studio was in that building. He came in every day during the week for lunch. He always had a pint of soup and a roll. This particular day, he gently waved me out front. I naturally assumed something was wrong. I had no idea I was about to receive my favorite (to this day) compliment ever. I greeted him, his name was Bill. He said, “you can go anywhere in the world and all you would ever need to do is make soup”. Whoa! I thanked him profusely, and he was gone. It was like a dream. I have had the best visual fantasies about traveling the globe and making soup. I have thought about different cultures and countries and the cuisines of those people and places. I would travel place to place, making soup, and soup and more soup. It sounds like the perfect journey to me. I offer my thanks to Bill, this man, the soup loving sculptor for his compliment he uttered so long ago.
Each January when I launch soup month, it actually began early this year. We had ham for Christmas dinner. Timing is everything, I had the ham, split pea soup it was and it was Yumbo (delicious). I will keep you in the loop as we move through the wonderful month of January. I will let you know every time I make soup. It’s Soup Month, we are off and ready to create.
What do you have planned to launch in the new year. January – full of possibilities. How will you use your talents in January? How will you sashay into your new year? I always sashay in, as I always wrap up the year with a flourish, whether I am in my favorite flannel pajamas or a ball gown. It does not matter what you wear, what is key is that you show up. A very wise woman told me a long time ago, “God doesn’t care what you wear to church, he only cares that you show up”. I have believed it ever since across the board. I believe that God cares that you show up in your life. Show up in your life, see yourself in your life. We can design the set, we can’t stop there, we must show up and “get on set”. So all I have to say is, What is your “soup”?
Always dazzle, Karen
Photo credit: Maurice Sendak – Chicken Soup with Rice