Thankful Soup

That’s what I’m calling the big pot currently bubbling on the stove. But it’s also the quality of this post in general. My brain feels like a bubbling cauldron today, with so many thoughts roiling around inside I hardly know where to begin.  Sometimes, I don’t feel very thankful for that because there seems to be so much to sort out, but then one thought or feeling or even just a word will stand out with so much clarity and everything else falls away into background noise and I realize that if it weren’t for my constantly churning head, that particular thought would never have made it to the surface.  Those perfect, clarified moments are what keep me going when my own mind seems to want to devour me.

But first, the actual soup.  I was lucky enough not to have to cook anything this TG, but of course ended up with as many leftovers as I could carry. I got one turkey carcass and half of the turkey my daughter cooked.  Last night, I broke up the carcass, cut an onion, 2 carrots and 2 ribs of celery into large chunks, fit them into my crock pot, covered them with 8 cups of water and this morning–perfect turkey stock.  I pulled all the meat off the carcass, then cut up most of the white meat from the other turkey and started the soup.

I didn’t always love soup.  My mother did and she made soup a lot, but it always tasted the same–very heavy on tomato, which is the one form of the fruit that I can’t abide.  Tomato soup, canned, fresh, whatever, makes me gag.  I don’t know why but it does. Later, I learned to enjoy her soup, but still, every pot tasted the same. 

Today, I rummaged around the fridge and counters, looking for just the right ingredients for my pot of thankful soup.  An onion, several cloves of garlic, 1 rib of celery (all I can tolerate), 2 mushrooms, 3 carrots, 4 purple potatoes (I debated on navy beans but forgot to soak them overnight, then I thought the purple potatoes could go well for color).  I went to the freezer in the garage and brought out the last bag of green beans from our summer garden.  I had 1/4 of a head of cabbage begging to be used, so that went on the chopping block. Then, searching through the pantry, I came on the last of the red lentils that I’d had for a while (less than a cup).  They would go in, too.

And a partridge in a pear tree….oh, wait, wrong holiday…

I actually woke up early this morning on my own, about 5:15.  Even after snoozing on and off for nearly an hour, I was up early enough to walk.  However, I heard some strong gusts of wind trying to rip the awnings off the back of the house so instead of worrying about making so many miles, I made a pot of coffee and took a leisurely stroll around the park, mug in hand.  I don’t stroll too often any more.  I’m too taken up with making miles, making time, getting trained, etc.  I think perhaps I need to step back and just enjoy the scenery.  Even walking sometimes you can go too fast to stop and smell the roses–or watch the sun bedazzle the snow on the mountain peaks in this case.  Maybe if I do that, getting out of the house won’t feel such a chore.

Feeling completely awake, I got back to the kitchen and chopped everything so that it would all be ready when I wanted it.  I diced a couple of slices of salt pork and tossed that into some olive oil.  Once the pork was crisp, I added flour and made a roux.  Then I added the veggies that needed longer cooking (onions, carrots, potatoes, celery) and stirred them into the roux. Once mixed I added the garlic (never want to burn the garlic; you have to start over).  While that started to sweat, I strained out the stock from all the veggies left in the crock pot.  It was 8 cups of perfection!  Easiest stock I ever made. I deliberately left out any seasoning other than just what was in/on the turkey so that I could do that closer to the soup being done.  I poured about 3 cups of still-hot stock into the roux/veggie mix and brought that to a boil, then turned it down, covered the pot and simmered.  I had some time before I needed to be working since today is my late day, so I managed to add the cabbage, the green beans and finally the lentils all mixed in and simmering away.  After everything had a chance to mix and meld, I added about a teaspoon of poultry seasoning and let that blend.  Then I tasted for salt (the salt pork helps), added a tiny bit, several drops of a green habanero hot sauce that was perfect, and one, just ONE tablespoon of tomato paste from the tube in the fridge.  If you’ve never bought tomato paste in a tube, I highly recommend it.  No waste and it keeps a very long time.  As of right now, the fire is off and the soup is a perfect pot of gratitude, waiting to be shared with home made bread and a lovely Fuji apple for dessert.

As for the rest of the day, I’ll be typing away down here till 5, nursing my still and always sore arm/shoulder.  There’ve been some rumors flitting around lately about a possible change in how they will pay us going forward–not how as in “are they able to” but how as in hourly (currently) or by production.  I don’t see how you can pay an editor on production, but I guess we will find out eventually.  Thus, I’ve updated my resume a bit, and shot off copies to 2 jobs on the outside–one at a local hospital and one at the VA in Colorado Springs.  I know I am quite qualified for the VA one, and it carries Federal benefits, so that might be interesting.  However, the job posting doesn’t close until February, so in the meantime I’ll just type away here and keep my eyes open for other promising things.  I was wondering why I suddenly had a hankering for new clothes the other day…

As for the rest, I’m up and down.  Winter has its bony fingers wrapped around me and I’m feeling it this year, even though weather-wise it’s yet to be very cold.  I feel it in the dark mornings, I sense it in the weight of thoughts in my head, the memories I want to let go of but can’t seem to because they’ve become such a habit.

There are times when I feel like I’m letting myself down, when comparison raises its evil head and nothing I’ve done, am doing or will do is right enough or good enough.  I manage to lose myself in books, catching up with Glee online and keeping up with yoga. Last night, practicing, my body focused on trying to stay balanced, my mind flew off somewhere and I nearly burst into tears.  When it came back, the previous post showed up. And then I felt better. I feel better today.  Sometimes, for me, I think writing is like cutting.  Pressure and memory build up and then this THING comes forward and I have to write it down, no matter how bad or maudlin, and then…poof…it’s better, brighter, clearer inside.  Sometimes it sucks to have invisible scars.

But for now, there’s a pot of soup on the stove and my head is on right and I’ve got work to do.

Happy, thankful Saturday…

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2 thoughts on “Thankful Soup

  1. Getting ready to do my Turkey soup tomorrow. 🙂 I make extra stuffing in the shape of muffins at Thanksgiving and I freeze them. Then when I make my Turkey soup and serve it, I drop a muffin of stuffing in the bowl. It’s the ultimate comfort food! 🙂

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