Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soup Season

A couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely warm day. The sun beat down, warmed our skin and hearts. The sky was totally free of clouds and spring looked like it was trying to arrive. Then winter returned like one of Cinderella’s nasty step-sisters spreading ashy looking skies from horizon to horizon. Now today I heard that snow might be possible for Saturday, the first official day of spring. After a long winter, snow on the first day of spring and cold temperatures for Easter the next week is going to make us all feel like we were left at home while everyone else went to the ball! Where is our fairy godmother that could bring the sun?

I thought I was finished with soup season. I have made soups, beans, cassoulets, and hearty breads. I have brewed up numerous pots of dark hot tea, and a few have been accompanied by cookies. If spring weather, the farmer’s market with yellows and green leaves of early eating, and healthy walking outdoors don’t arrive soon, I won’t be able move my thighs off the recliner and out the front door. Yet today, I bought more lean beef chunks, winter vegetables, and dried beans for what I hope is one last big soup pot that will mark the end of soup season 2010.

I love reading cook books and occasionally have to weed out my shelves because like with any book collection, one can't keep them all! One of my favorites is a children’s cookbook I bumped into at the independent bookstore at St. Charles, Missouri. (I also love independent book stores!) Blue Moon Soup, written by Gary Goss and illustrated by Jane Dyer, is designed for adults and children to use for cooking together. The directions are simple, the names playful, and the directions easy to follow. While simple, the recipes are delicious and produce a worthy meal. One of my favorite soups is the Full Moon Soup with kidney beans, tomatoes, and kale. I had never cooked kale before, but this made a unique and tasty soup!

Soup can be time consuming when making your own chicken or beef broth, then peeling, slicing and dicing your own vegetables. But once you have put in a morning’s worth of work, you can have soup for several meals. This frees up writing time on the following days thanks to the microwave and a box of crackers! A good writer can plot a story while chopping and have it filed away in her head for putting into the computer later. Just be careful with what genre stirs in your head though. A murder mystery can be dangerous to plot with a sharp clever in your hands; better outline some sensual and fulfilling love story or plan an amusing poem while at the cutting board. Save revenge and conspiracy for when your fingers are actually on the keyboard!

Right now I have to go sweat some onions and garlic to get my soup pot going since today the weather is cold with a light drizzle—definitely still soup season. Hum, I wonder if anyone has written an Ode to Potatoes?


BECKY said...

Hi Claudia! I love the title and the cover of that cook book! I, too, love to "collect" cook books. I love to page through them and dream of a time when I might actually make some of the recipes! My husband is a very picky eater and would never try most "new" things! So, I just dream about I dream about having a clean, uncluttered home,,,,and then I go back to my writing, which makes me happier than a "perfect" house would! Thanks for sharing!

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia, I just polished off Sunday's soup, and thought soup season was over too, but hubby brought home a bag (I was hoping for bakery goods); it was filled with soup fixings. That looks like a cute cook book!

Bookie said...

I have ordered a used Ballymaloe cookbook (37 cents!), but it didn't make it in time for today's St. Patrick's Day. But it will be fun whenever it arrives.

Yes, the Blue Moon is a darling. You can see the double peep-a-boo cover is torn a wee tad. I keep it in a bookcase next to my desk because I love looking at the colorful drwawings for children. The constant wear of pulling it out took a toll on the paper cover. But like I said I have used the recipes a lot too.

Do you gals patronize the St. Charles book store down in the historic district? I wen there when it was in the tiniest little house, but I hear it has moved to another location in old towne.

BECKY said...

Hi Claudia! Oh yes, I definitely shop at Main Street Books in old St. Charles!! I loved it, too, when it was just a tiny old school house. I was saddened at first when I heard it was moving down the road a bit, to a larger store, but I must admit, it is nicer to have more room, and it still carries that wonderful old-time, one-of-kind book store! Next time you're going to visit, please let me know and I will meet you there and take you to lunch!!