Editing Soup

When it comes to cooking, I am my mother’s daughter. Recently when she was asked, “Grandma, on a scale of One to Ten, how do you feel about cooking?” she unequivocally exclaimed, “Zero!” Don’t get me wrong. I can nourish my family. And I get high marks for “front-of-house” duties, as in making people feel welcome.

So, I was as surprised as the next person when, during the pandemic, I branched out. I was delighted to mix it up a bit. Landing supper on the table without relying on the old favorites or someone else’s recipe was downright fun.  Often and especially early on, I thought we were enjoying feasts fit for royalty. I remember pausing with gratitude. Who did this? Given time and focus and desire, the muse of Creativity had delighted us yet again. Our prayers before meals were spontaneous and heart-felt.

Then came the long stretch of Rob’s digestion difficulties. No garlic and onions allowed, just when I had finally expanded from salt and pepper. Happy to say that we have lived to see the days of welcoming back any food in moderation. Dear and amusing Creativity has returned. So have CSA—Community Supported Agriculture—deliveries of fresh organic vegetables, some that are unrecognizable.

Enter celery with luscious leaves and very short thin stalks. During the recent Heat Wave of June 2021, I remembered the idea of cool celery soup. I decided to give it a go using a recipe I found online and converted to dairy-free. At least I knew the creamy texture was attainable because our daughter, Chef Carolina Jane, recently graduated from culinary school—an amazing feat during the lockdown—and had gifted me with a Vitamix.

All of this to say, the draft of that soup was terribly bitter. Rob choked it down. Why would he do otherwise, saying, “Evaluating your efforts in the kitchen with anything but appreciation is decidedly not in my best interest.” But I knew better. The temperature and texture were right, but that’s it.

I was sorely tempted to ditch that slush but texted Carol first, “Is there any hope?”

She proceeded to encourage me to taste and ask, “Is it sufficiently sweet, salty, acidic and savory?” In her words, my products would ideally be a balanced combination of these flavors. For instance, to make the soup more salty, add salt. More savory? Perhaps mushrooms or cream. More acidic? Use lemon or vinegar. Or sweeter? Add sugar or honey. Add and taste, add and taste.

Since her Dad was heading to the valley to help with her new tiny home, I sent a sample of the edited soup along. Her applause about the altered version felt like balm. She’s a fantastic cook and a good teacher too. There’s hope for me yet.

Safe Enough

Facebook is reminding me that 7 years ago I administered the Heimlich maneuver on my mother when she choked across the table from me during a picnic. Because I inadvertently squeezed the emergency pendant she wore at the time, the EMT onsite came running over to check on her.

Fast forward to now. She has been issued a pendant at her assisted living home which she has misplaced. We are considering putting a camera in her room so she can be viewed from outside. She is reticent about this idea.

Meanwhile I am glad she has not misplaced her new hearing aids. Even though she questions whether she really needs them, we believe they are devices from which she can benefit. I am not sure the other technologies are, nor is she. But do they help us rest-assured? Is there such a thing when her aging doesn’t slow for a second? And we know no one gets out of this alive?

Work Party for 2

Summer’s here and masks are off. Thanks to my favorite plumber, nothing is leaking in our aging bodies or houses, for the time being at least. The new kitchen faucet at the beach is the fanciest appliance in the place.  Plus, the upper deck is freshly stained and enough weed whacking is done for guests to park. Bring ‘em on. Good riddance, Pandemic. 

Original Facebooks

Last week JoAn came to my home. She is 90. Spry and sharp. She lived in the house next to ours in the late 40’s—a surprise to both of us. JoAn perched on our red ottoman while we poured over the beloved faces in the old paper directories from the cathedral.

How’s that for church family?

Meet Ele

I bought an elephant for my grandniece’s upcoming birthday, thinking her Mom (my niece) could use it in her counseling office too. After all, visualizing is a step to naming “The Elephant in the Room,” right?

So I went to visit little Bennett. I was happily maskless and inside her home. Then I spied her pachyderm. Looks like B might have everything she could ever need already. But, ah ha, I don’t. This stuffie is staying right here with me. They’re* soft, cuddly and downright necessary sometimes.

*Ele has let me know their pronouns are they/them. I’m glad they told me this. Using the correct pronouns with my friends helps strengthen our friendship.