Inching Toward Simplicity: Pragmatics and Prose

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Road to Soup

My efforts this week at soup are so far only a mental exercise. I managed to pull out the appropriate recipes from my pile of printouts — tortellini spinach soup, cold beet soup with fennel. Even printed Julia Child’s classic Salad Nicoise recipe to round out my meal plans. I’ve got the cans of stewed tomatoes and organic veggie broth stacked near the stove. Maybe I can take some partial credit after all – I did boil green beans and potatoes this morning, getting ready for the Nicoise. Gavin took immense pleasure in poking the boiling potatoes (every 4 seconds) with a fork.

But where is the soup? Still simmering in my mind.

Soup pleases me. Maybe it started with the Stone Soup story when I was a child—each guest adding something until the idea of the soup becomes the real thing. As mom gets older and doesn’t cook as much for herself, I love the idea of making double portions so I can share the wealth. I love the sloppiness that soup allows for-—not-so finely diced vegetables, a little extra broth, a little shortage of spinach, and it can still end up tasty. When I manage to make a batch, it is the lunch special for the week at home, sometimes the dinner special, too. It’s a dieter’s secret for filling up, and it’s usually a pretty cheap endeavor. To indulge an expression I heard a lot growing up on Long Island, “What’s not to love?”

So why the thinking about soup, the writing about soup, but not the soup? I managed to buy everything but the (ahem) beets for the beet soup. The sink is full and I don’t want to empty it before I cook. I haven’t written much this week. Worst of all, the book Crazy Busy has sat on my dresser since July 27, when I brought it home from the Kent Library book sale. Sad to say, too crazy busy to read much of it so far!

Soup is my analogy for the concept of Inching Toward Simplicity. I am getting there, and each time I create something new I feel rewarded. People taste it and ask for more. But sometimes I stray away from the path, distracted by bills, or family, or the dog, or daydreams. Tonight, I am thankful that I have reunited with my efforts at Inching Toward Simplicity, soon to be followed by the emptying of the sink and, hopefully, the beginnings of two pots simmering. I’ve also thrown in an old writer’s favorite recipe: Deadline Soup!

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