Friday, January 8, 2010


Sounds sinful doesn't it? But truth be told, I'm finding that soup is one of my best friends. Northern bean and ham: 5 points; ham hock soaked in split peas: 3 points; chicken and veggie: 2 points; stewed tomato and quinoa: 1 point; veggie rich in chicken broth: no points at all. Yet, everyone of these soups--mainly because they're water based--is very filling; though the fact that most of these soups' ingredients are "filling" foods, also makes them remarkable. Imagine eating two bowls of soup for dinner and feeling full, all for five points or less!

Now keep in mind, these are water based soups, and also, not the canned kind. I've always liked to make soup, but with my grandma in town, I've been watching over her shoulder and picking up some new tricks--garlic in chicken soup with loads of carrots and celery--otherwise known in our family as Jewish penicillin. Nyquil brand just doesn't make anything like that for a cold. Also, I've learned to use cabbage or rice to fill out a thin broth.

So why this obsession with soup? Well, first off, you're all well aware by now that I LIKE to eat. It's been that way for about . . . oh . . . 31 years. The girls nearest my dorm room in college thought my life Scripture verse was "O taste and see that the Lord is good." Oh yes. I took that one QUITE literally.

However, there's also some family history involved. Many times, I heard my grandpa say in his joking way, "Never marry a woman who can't make soup!" Silly and memorable, I still smile to think of it, but as I later found out, he had a reason for feeling that way. I learned that, in the beginning was George, Pat, and a pot of soup. If there had been no soup, there might not have been George and Pat; if there had been no George and Pat, there would have been no Deb; and if there had been no Deb, there sure wouldn't have been any me. Apparently, I owe soup a lot.

Now I'm going to be honest. I know. You're all terribly surprised by this. The fact is, I'm feeling lazy tonight. I've exercised my little self into a state of exhaustion and still have aerobics in the morning, so I'm going to copy and paste a short section of a memoir I have been working on since my grandfather's passing last February. It's been part of how I've dealt with my own personal grief, but I share it now with you here. Ladies and gentlemen: the Soup Story.

"I enjoyed thinking about this scenario for a while [had been discussing how they had met]--the first time they saw each other, what they might have said, and how one thing must have let to another, because soon George found himself on the front stoop of the Prinz home stead, dressed to the nines and pushing daisies.

To say that society has lost something with courtship is no small understatement. Pat had made soup to quietly suggest her culinary panache, and the family was all gathered for an early interrogation of this prospector, vying for the affection of the clan's youngest daughter. After the suitor had been shown in and offered a place in the parlor, the women had huddled behind the kitchen's swinging half door, peeking and whispering. Hadn't she been lucky to catch this one home for dinner? He was 25, after all, and handsome didn't hurt either.

Meanwhile, in the parlor, guns were not present, just implied. "So you have a job, George? How long have you been in the Navy? Do you have a criminal rec-I mean, have you stayed out of trouble? Do you drink George? And you're 24, you say? What exactly are your intentions for a 16-year-old girl?

And so it went until dinner was announced, at which point the Manish Inquisition ended, and civility was tucked into place along with napkins after Mr. Prinz said grace. Most likely, this civility was more for Pat's mother, than Pat. Mrs. Prinz was not the type of woman you wanted kicking you under the table. Conversation came and went between carefully swallowed spoonfuls. Pat glowed when she heard George's spoon scrape the bottom of his bowl, and he promptly asked for more. Everything seemed to have gone splendidly.

Later though, when good-nights had been said, and Pat went to clear George's dishes, she made the dread discovery. Under the edge of his bowl, where he had discreetly slipped it during dinner, was a stone from his soup. The beans had been carefully culled for tiny stones, prior to cooking, but one, it seemed, had slipped into the mix, and into George's bowl.

"Now he'll never come back!" Pat had wailed.

But he had, the next week, and the next. Until finally, after a July wedding, he started coming home every night for dinner. The soup just got better."

See? Soupendipity.

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