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.)