There are some afternoons I just have to make soup. Like today’s drippy afternoon – the grandson still napping, the hen & I cooped up (no no, not together!), last week’s CSA roots in the fridge. & turnips…how can I work that huge turnip into a soup?
This is the fun part: going onto the web & searching ingredients I have on hand. I know, everyone (who uses computers & cooks) does this – thank you Web! I don’t usually end up using any one recipe, but rather gather ideas about what works together, and with what herbs & spices, etc. There are so many terrific cooks out there & I always learn something new from them – thanks gals (& a few guys).
General concepts in hand, I then get to work. I’m lucky to have a partner who invariably appreciates my culinary efforts, because sometimes this approach is wildly successful, and, as all cooks know, sometimes – uh well, hopefully the leftovers aren’t too voluminous. Today, the soup ended up being roots, including that turnip, & white beans with prepared Ethiopian berbere seasoning, which I’d tried to make in past but which I today luckily had on hand, having discovered a package recently at Shopper’s Corner.
Human primates have been making soup for about 8,000 years…ever since they/we figured out how to make containers which could hold & heat water, roots, leafy stuff, leftover meat bones, etc. It probably didn’t take them too long to figure out that soup is Mmm Mmm good. One thing I’ve noticed about soup though is that it often doesn’t look very appetizing; ergo, I’m not showing you a photo of today’s creation even though it turned out to be pretty flavorful (in spite of the turnip? because of the turnip?). This visual shortcoming of soup is one reason I always appreciated the efforts of my in-laws around the weekly Pfoty Pfamily Soup Nite, a regular Tuesday evening family supper at the ancestral home in Soquel, California.
Week after week, year after year, Jean & Paul made at least two kinds of lovely-looking soup each Tuesday night for their hard-working middle-aged children and spouses, teenage grandchildren, random neighbors, & any friends we might want to bring along. Show up when you can, eat & chat or eat & run (I admit to mostly doing the latter) – it was a gift of soup-love for this large, somewhat amorphous family of nine, many of whom still live in the central coast area. Our own family very gratefully enjoyed this tradition throughout its nearly two-decade run.
The great-grandPfolks are now in their mid-80′s & son Pete is the Soquel soup-maker; some of us are retired (well, me & the firefighter), most are still working (all the rest), there’s one great-grandchild (our grandson Dante), & family soup nites are understandably less often. It was a worthy and grounding tradition, & I highly recommend it for families who are able, wherever you may be.
Thanks Jean & Paul – maybe someday I can figure out how to make those soups look as wonderfully fresh & appetizing as your Soup Nite versions.