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A Meditation on Soup
15.05.2012 ● Guest
I visited a friend last week for a long-awaited catch up. It was one of those lovely but short kind of get-togethers where we busied and talked, multi-tasking as we went. I helped her put away the shopping as she told me about the sick bugs and colds that her kids had been fighting off. I talked about my new dog while she played games and cajoled her little one to eat lunch. Soon our own tummies began to rumble and she offered to share the soup she’d bought for lunch. Politely I refused, honestly saying that I rarely felt in the mood for soup, even though it’s so easy and healthy and that I actually love making it. She in turn said she loved to eat it but never really got around to making it, especially when there were so many great shop-bought versions. It was then that I got the urge to make some. Right there and then, for her.
I had my eye on the leeks that were on the counter ready to throw away, just on the edge of good usage. I plumped for courgettes from the fridge to join those leeks and we chatted as I cleaned and sliced, seasoned and simmered, blended and served. In just ten minutes I had made a satisfyingly bright green soup. I didn’t taste even a mouthful but felt so happy seeing her eat, enjoy and be nourished by my dish of friendship and thrift.
On the way home I felt wonderful, partly because I love to nurture through food but also because of the thoughts that had begun to form. I have found over the years that food, cooking and making good with whatever my current resources, has nourished me through good times and bad; but what I want to say about soup is this:
There is a metaphor for life contained within the joy to be found from all the stages of soup-making, you just have to find your own moment; it could be the careful selection of vegetables, your pride in making good from what is nearly waste, the satisfaction of cleaning the dirt from each layer of the leeks, the rhythm of the knife as you chop, the sprinkle of salt or stock to make it sing, the sweating to release the sweetness, the simmering so quick and efficient, the buzz of the blender and finally the warm hug as you eat.
As in life, some like to plan, some to splurge, some to make do, some to graft, some to add flavour, some to transform, some to give and some to be given.
Life, like soup, is what we make it.