Season of Soup

Some parents’ newly-adult children continue to come home for monetary handouts or a place to do laundry.  My daughter returned to graze from the big pot of soup I always had simmering on the stove.  Soup is my staple.  My life.  It’s the natural expression of my inner low maintenance and generally uninspired chef.  If I lived alone and never had visitors the only utensils I’d own would be a couple of spoons and a large, glass bowl.

Although I admit, in the last couple of years since we stopped using air conditioning and turned to the whole house fan at night for our summer cooling, I’ve reluctantly turned towards cooler foods like salad with miscellaneous grilled things on top.  It’s an oh-so elegant alternative to soup since it can  also be served in a bowl.  But when the sun finally, finally! starts it’s slanting descent–when I sense the first hint of autumn chill on the wind–I breathe a happy sigh, get down on my knees, and drag the cauldron out from the back of the cupboard again.  The season of soup is returning.

This shift from summer to fall cooking is like my version of migration; a genetic impulse surfacing from a lost and lazy ancestor in the past, a distant grandmother who cared as little as I do if the different food groups touch each other beforehand.  Clearly, she was not from a Mediterranean climate with its joyful people who eat for love and beauty.  No, she came from someplace cold and dark, with long winters and fur shoes.  A far northern locale with scarce and unimaginative food like root vegetables and frozen meat.

She would have had the northern lights in lieu of cuisine, though, and she would have loved them.   I got that from her, too.  I’d trade a rich sauce for the Aurora Borealis any day of the week.  Here’s a Youtube video that explains why.  (For the genitalia-averse, please beware the explicit educational ad for condoms tucked in amongst the tile display of ads afterwards.  But for anyone still mystified as to proper application, this ad is probably for you.)

Today it’s in the 30’s outside and I have a cozy fire burning in the woodstove and eight or nine overripe bananas sitting on the countertop.

Traditionally I would’ve used them for banana bread but the hubster and I have recently started a diet and sweet breads, while allowed, are challenging from a portion-control perspective.  (Forgive me, but half a slice?  Really?  Whoever thought that up must have been tongueless.)  So instead I’m considering an exploratory foray into some kind of a sweet soup.  Perhaps mixed with chicken broth, caramelized (which I used to call burned-because-I-was-distracted) onions, butternut squash, cream (damn…I mean nonfat milk) and lime pieces?  Or should I go with a spicy red curry stew, with onions, pumpkin, peas, and coconut milk (damn…I mean lite coconut milk mixed half and half with nonfat milk)?  It all sounds so exotic, so gourmet, I know…until one realizes I’m driven solely by a depression-era hoarding instinct (also inherited from cold and hungry forbears) that disallows the waste of a crumb.  I could no more throw away a banana than I could eat my own child.

But oh how good it feels to be cold again.

copyright Dia Osborn 2011

(Ha ha!  Written in under two hours!!  Progress is made.)

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7 responses

  1. You’re turning into a veritable speed writer, Dia! I love soups, too. They are so simple, so all encompassing and as you say, warm! I’ve even tried cold varieties for the summer months. I loved the A.B. video. I do so hope to see that one day before I journey to the next whatever.

    If all else fails, freeze those nanners and use them little bits at a time for future soups or fruit compotes for dessert. They freeze really well. But of course, you knew that. Bon Apetit!

    • Actually no! I never thought to freeze them. Not sure why since I freeze everything else…actually I’ve got some frozen peaches right now and a fruit compote (always heard of them but don’t really know what they are…I think mashed fruit?) sounds like a tasty dessert that I could eat a lot of on this diet! Great tip…thanks.
      And the northern lights…yes. I’ve only seen them in white but there they were…shimmering up in the sky like specters or gods. I can see how easy it would be to assign supernatural powers to them. Shit, I know where they come from and I STILL did. Wonder and awe, baby! Wonder and awe.

  2. The Aurora Borealis. *sigh* I hear they’re going to be pretty spectacular in the coming year because of solar flares. They’re on my list. I’m scheming to see them.

    As for the bananas, just turn them into banana bread. You can swap out one source of carbohydrates for bananas. It’s true that they have high sugar content, but if you’re fond of hikes, banana-based edibles are the way to go. They are quick sources of energy. Banana is a staple for me. I hope you’re not diabetic though, that’s a whole different story.

  3. I can so relate to this post! I am very happy that the cooler temps are upon us…..and lowering! as of tomorrow.
    I am a soup man. I have already started to make them. What I like best is that they are so easy to make and last for a few days….if we are lucky! I am sure you have noticed how the flavour is better the following couple of days. My favourite of all is beef and barley! Then chicken, followed by a fish soup, then split pea.
    This is making me hungry.I freeze my bananas and use them in fruit smoothies as I need them.
    Thanks for dropping by today.

    Jim

  4. Hi Dia, amen to your attitude on throwing out food. I hate that.
    I always buy plenty of fruit because I want to offer a wide variety to my little one. Like all kids he tends to like apples today and mango tomorrow. It also gives me an incentive to eat more fruit. But sometimes I can’t for various reasons and that’s why I ‘invented’ the low-calorie-overripe-fruit frozen yogurt. I buy big packs of low fat natural yogurt and mix a portion with whatever fruit is about to go off. Depending on which fruit (bananas or mangos less, apples or oranges more) I add some sugar (or sweetener, but only if I’m sure the little one won’t have any of it). Then spread it into small plastic containers (I take the ones that I used to take for freezing baby food) and off into the freezer.
    Makes for lovely desserts that have all but replaced other, less healthy and more fattening nibbles for me. It takes much longer to eat than a normal yogurt as it’s frozen hard which is great for me because I am a terrible fast-eater. I have experimented with this a lot last summer and almost every fruit worked nicely (except melon and watermelon), including mixes. When using fruits with water content (grapes, citrus fruits), the mix will crystallise more but that generally doesn’t bother me. It helps to to fast-freeze or to let it thaw a bit before eating.
    By the way, banana is one of my favourites 🙂

    • Great ideas! Yogurt has become my ice cream substitute since starting the diet so this would work really well for me. Thanks for the tips and thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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