Tag Archives: soup

Smells Like Childlike Spirit!

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Last night’s soup swap was a great success. I marveled at the way the same basic ingredients could be presented in such unique ways. Fall and winter vegetables teamed up with lentils and beans in many dishes, but each had its own flavor and texture. A “golden” ladle was given to the soup voted as overall favorite. The winner was a cherry dumpling soup! We tend to think of soup as an appetizer; a beginning to dining or a hearty stew-like main course for lunches. So this soup (along with the others – over a dozen in all) surprised and delighted everyone. We went away with recipes and new ways to combine basic pantry items that we get tired of, or use over and over in the same way. Grandma’s acorn squash and lentil soup tastes great, but we tire of the routine.

So let’s look at something that is also always there, and can get stale no matter how much we love it – our occupations. Do you remember when you were a child, dreaming of the careers you would have as an adult? As 5-year-olds, there were no boundaries – we planned futures as firemen, mommies and daddies, doctors and pilots. I decided to ask other writers this question: What would you be if you were not a writer?

At first my colleagues insisted that they would want to do nothing else except what they were doing at present. So I asked, if skill/talent/money/whatever was not in the way, what would they choose to be? Reality should play no part in their answer – there should be no logic attached. I wanted to hear what they would do if there were absolutely no boundaries –in this imaginary world, only their spirits were in charge!

The answers were amazing –given the chance to throw aside the hackles of reality, a few stated they would be farmers, dancers, artists and singers. Without the requirements of formal education, others said they would be veterinarians, paleontologists, and physicists. The answers were exciting and eclectic – pipe organ player, rabbi, metalsmith, kitten photographer, ranch owner (where children could ride horses for free), Radio City Rockette, Indiana Jones, and many more. In the imaginary world, it didn’t matter whether we had long legs, beautiful voices, had degrees or owned acres of land – not even the sky was the limit!

So, as adults, how can we unlock the doors that hold in these dreamy wishes, and make them a little part of our reality? If we gave our spirits control of our lives, instead of allowing logic and all the other things to handcuff us to a specific daily grind, how would it change us? Of course, I am not suggesting we all live completely in a dream world of our making – we all have to pay bills and taxes, raise children and do laundry. But if we did something to fulfill a part of that inner desire, wouldn’t it only serve to make our lives better?

Instead of planning a vacation, what if you spun the globe, closed your eyes and pointed to a destination – and took off on your own Indian Jones adventure? What if you bartered for lessons in something you had interest in doing – dancing, acting, baking, or religious instruction? What if there were no boxes to define you? Dig deep – and uncover your passions!

Snow Mountains and Soup Swaps

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Snow has arrived in Central Vermont! I spent Sunday with my two friends, Otis and Ben, and we enjoyed the snow together. We tried out the hill at their country home – fabulous! Otis, who is 6 years old, discovered that if we all piled into the wood sled together, the trip down the hill was much faster! Later that afternoon, Otis, Ben (who is 4) and I went to Hubbard Park to do some more sledding, participate in a scavenger hunt, and have hot cocoa and cookies.

At home, the snow plows rumble into the parking lots behind my apartment and push the accumulation into miniature mountains of white and grey. Last night Fae and I played “Queen of the Hill” on the pile nearest the door. Fae loves snow – but like me, when her feet get cold, she’s done playing!

Each morning I discover that a kind spirit has shoveled my little walkway from the parking lot to the steps of my apartment, and cleared a path to the dumpsters as well! This person must come before dawn, as I am usually up early and have yet to find out who it is. So I am giving a shout out and a thank you to the Snow Fairy, whoever you are!

If you remember my blog of last winter, Glove is All You Need, I discovered the singles gathering of gloves in Montpelier. My goal this year is to collect those errant gloves and mittens and find a place to donate them. But this month, shoppers won’t have to expose their hands to put money in Montpelier’s meters. The city has covered all its meters with festive red baggies – everyone parks free. A good thing for shoppers and a good thing for the shops!

I am preparing beef barley soup to take to a soup swap hosted by the REACH exchange in Montpelier. This swap is a bit different than the one I wrote about last year in Soup for You. We all partake of the soup of others instead of going home with freezer-ready portions. I am considering hosting a soup swap of my own in the late winter months – it would be a fun way to spend a cold evening!

Soup for You! Next!

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This year I am committed to eating seasonally (and local), so fresh salads are out and cabbage and kale are in right now. After a week of cabbage though, I have more than the scent of a woman, so I start throwing other vegetables into a broth to make soup. I am fortunate to share in the soups of friends. Every time I visit my friend Byron, he sends me home with a freezer bag full of his spicy soup that fills the belly and clears the sinuses. And I am saving a frozen container of homemade venison soup that my friend Otter gave me for a great last meal here before I head for Montpelier.

You know, there is something almost cuddly about receiving homemade soup from someone who cares about you. The whole idea of someone creating that warm concoction – good things that may be otherwise forgotten in the fridge or not big enough to stand alone are blended together to make magic. And when soup is made, it is with the idea that someone else will share in it. Let’s face it, soup is great, but it gets less interesting after the fourth or fifth day of eating it. So you make soup and you share it.

So with soup – and barter – on the brain, I found this very cool site that tells about a neighborly meet-up called Soup Swap Everybody makes their favorite soup, at least 6 quarts, and brings it and freezer containers to the home of one of the participants. Then everybody swaps for the soup others have made. Some people up the ante and create cute labels and add side dishes like cornbread to their offerings. Way better than a party for the same containers, only empty! Check out the site on how to organize a swap – there is a national soup swap day coming up on the 23rd of this month! But…no bread for you!