Soup for the Soul

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soup for the soul

Is there anything better than soup when cold weather arrives? I know, I know – soup is a year-round thing. There are chilled soups and yogurt soups and gazpacho, but seriously, folks, those are not soups – they are pureed veggies! I am talking about soup. The kind that does more than fill up your belly – it warms your soul, elevates your mood, brings you closer to others and heals.

Soups are always recommended for anything that challenges you. Are you sick? Eat chicken soup or a bone broth soup. Are you short on cash and long on bills? Eat soup five times a week and save money, lots of money, on your grocery bill. Do you need something to take to a potluck? Soup to the rescue with its high volume, great flavor and hey, it already comes in a handy easy to transport pot!

To me, soup is like a blank canvas for an artist. The possibilities are endless. Through the years I have found that all soups must start with browned onion and garlic. If you start there, you cannot go wrong with your end product. From that point, basically you need to decide what kind of soup you want: cream, broth-based, vegetarian, chunky? Then your next step is to check your refrigerator for all those little containers of leftovers that you otherwise have little use for. Add them to the pot if they sound like a good combination. I doubt that I have made soup from a recipe more than twice in my whole life. Most of the time I wing it, but it always comes together in the end. If I do use a recipe the first time, I am likely to chuck it the second time around and freelance a little with what I remember from the basic recipe. It keeps things fun in the kitchen, but I guess my real reason is that I can never find that original recipe in my crazy kitchen, which is the center of life for this family of six.

Unfortunately, I am the only one in this said family of six who will touch soup. I know, it is such a sad thing. I would dearly love to dish up a big bowl of soup at dinner and have everyone inhale the steam, spread a smile on their face, lovingly turn to me and say, “Mmmm, thanks for making soup, Mom,” but that is a daydream unlikely to take place in my home of boys. Do any boys like soup?

I once knew a man who liked soup. I loved that about him, and when I saw this recipe in a hand-me-down edition of Guidepost, I knew I would make this soup for him – and I would even use the recipe so as to get it just right. I made it for him because he needed “something.” We all knew things were changing, that something wasn’t exactly in balance. When I feel things are out of balance, I cook, and if it is winter, I cook soup. This soup was made from butter-browned onion and garlic, of course, to which I added some of our winter-grown carrots and potatoes from the last summer dig. It was made with concern for a loved one who loved ham, and so leftover ham from a holiday meal was added. When all of that had sufficiently become fork tender, the extra butter, cream and milk were mixed in. As I added those last ingredients, I thought about hopefully putting pounds onto a frame that was becoming smaller. Bringing nutrients to a body that hopefully this soup would heal.

And so we ate soup as a family more often in the next few years. We ate other things too, and we made other things for him, things that we hoped would taste good to him. Things that we hoped would somehow miraculously turn his life around. And then the time came when soup could no longer be eaten. What foods could be eaten was a continuously narrowed list.

Today, I made soup again as I thought of him. The soup was not for him, so there was no ham. It was a vegetable soup, because the ones in need of soul-nourishing soup prefer it that way. He is no longer in need of soup. He has been healed, though not from my soup. He has been healed in a perfect way from the Perfect One.

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