Soup Is Not Soup

The other day I wanted potato-leek soup. You can do it quickly, of course, but I like roasted potatoes in mine, and I have very definite needs for the leeks. The bottoms must be soft and the tops still a little crunchy-stringy, which means a multi-stage cooking process.

My ex used to make his own particular soup, one the kids adored. They like mine, but it’s not the same–and we don’t have it often, because the smell can remind them of the time of the divorce. It wasn’t contentious, they just don’t like that part of the reminder. There were good things about that process, too.

It isn’t just soup. It’s memory and survival, hope and endurance, bitter laughter and amazed tears, all in one pot. Food is rarely just fuel.

May you reclaim dishes you love, my friends; and may you look around the table and think, we made it, we survived. And may that thought fill you with peace instead of despair.

Over and out.

Caffeine

A certain Good Angel gifted me a tiny spare espresso machine, since my beloved Breville monster is down for the count. It’s been nice to pour a couple shots in the morning, and another few in the afternoon. French press just isn’t the same.

It’s an old Starbucks machine, and not for the faint of heart. I’ve already given him a name, and hopefully we’re at the beginning of a bee-you-ti-ful relationship.

Crumble

When your daughter’s best friend comes home unexpectedly from college, and goes blackberry picking, and generously leaves you a zillion blackberries, there is nothing left to do but make a crumble. I was a little worried, because I just eyeballed the ingredients instead of measuring them. But it vanished over the course of an afternoon, so I guess I didn’t do too badly. *dabs at lips with napkin*

I hope your summer is full of such delights, my friends.

Stump Cake

A lot of schools have gotten rid of what we used to call Home Ec–classes that teach all sorts of useful skills, from how to wash a goddamn dish to basic sewing. the replacements have either been nothing, or a variety of class meant to turn kids into effective fast-food workers, mostly by having them work in the lunchroom. Which is all sorts of OMG.

The Princess’s high school, however, actually has quite a good program to teach kids basic kitchen etiquette and use. It was a revelation to her, finding out so many of her classmates had no idea how to handle a knife or clean a stove. She and the Prince have been in the kitchen with me their entire lives, either watching or helping out in whatever age-appropriate fashion they could. My experiments in cooking, once I got over my own childhood fears and angsts, no doubt helped. It was kind of weird, seeing how few kids knew even basic things, like how to cream butter and sugar. There are reasons for that, of course–wage stagnation means cooking at home is more of a time-drain than even many two income households can afford.

One of the interesting things the Princess learned was how to make a variety of Stump Cake. The teacher valiantly tried to instill some aesthetic and pastry-making basics into a group of teenagers, but finicky fondant was (and is) a nonstarter for that age group. However, the basic idea–FOUR LAYERS OF CHOCOLATE CAKE! EAT IT WITH YOUR CHAINSAW FINGERS!–is intriguing enough by itself to make the stump cake a frequent project around these parts.

The Princess had Monday off from work, and had brought home cocoa. Needless to say, after her leisurely lie-in and brekkie, she began mixing, baking, pouring, and making parchment-paper frosting cones to practice her piping. The result was SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE. CAKE.

I know, I know, a great problem to have. I’m pretty sure my blood’s been replaced by pure syrup. I REGRET NOTHING.

Soup

stock-without-water

I’m coughing, hacking, spitting, and blowing my nose every five minutes. Sometimes all at once, which is an interesting sensation, let me tell you. So it’s soup, all the soup, all the time.

The Thanksgiving ham has been denuded, stock has been made. Today I simmer the rest of the bone for split-pea soup. There may even be biscuits involved, depending on my energy level. Either way, it will slide easily down into my stomach, and warm me from the inside out.

*shuffles away, coughing*