Friday, October 12, 2012

Soup


Do you believe in magic?

Of fairies and hobbits I am unsure, but I wholeheartedly believe in the alchemy of the kitchen. That wonderland of taste and scent, the kitchen is where I long to be. I cannot turn water into wine, but if you give me six hours, I can turn it into gold.

The simplicity of filling a pot with water, the slight slosh as you place it on the stove. The click of the burner and the whoosh as the gas catches--a few of my favorite things, these are. For they are the beginning. And sometimes, beginnings are magic.

My fingers slide along the bones of the roasted chicken, peeling flesh from their ivory lengths, separating tendons and sinews and skin. The naked carcass sinks beneath the water's surface, somehow reminding me of a grand ship in a rather warm ocean. Onions and celery and salt, bay leaves, plump cloves of garlic and inky black peppercorns swirl along the surface as steam begins to fog the kitchen window. With a soft smile I pause in the doorway. I'm leaving a simmering pot of water, but will return in a few hours...

And there will be gold.

Liquid amber succulence. The limp remains of the vegetables removed, their essence bled into that which will delight. The bones have given up their marrow, their soul...perhaps this is magic indeed, for how else does water become so nourishing, so heartening? Now with piles of chopped onions and celery, ribbons of carrots and rosemary pulled fresh from the porch, leaving it's mouth-watering scent on my fingers as I watch it fall into the pot. Twenty minutes and in with the mountain of chicken, a cupful of corn and cream.

The house is filled. Not just with things...but with promise. With music and herbs and the delicious heat escaping from the oven where the crust of the bread is slowly darkening. And this...this is the magic that began with a cold pot of water and a dark kitchen.

I love soup. I've quite literally lived off soup at one point. When your body is weak, it craves the liquid meal; when your wallet is empty, you can fill bellies with the odds and bits found in the back of the fridge after they've been souped. (yes, that's a word...well, at least now it is) With imagination--there is no end to the soups one can make. You take what you have....and add love.

Isn't this life? The odds and bits that are here sometimes by choice and sometimes by chance, they may not add up to the designer menu we intended. There was a shortage of lobster. But with time and heat and a handful of spice, a dash of salt...and love. There is soup. Sustenance and provision. Nourishment for the soul as well as the heart.



May your soup be marvelous.

 

15 comments:

Robbie Grey said...

Well, I'm hungry now...

There is mysticism in to be found in the kitchen. The scent of a home-cooked meal is a reason to be alive.

Shea Goff said...

Now I am excited about my gumbo. Time to cook! Thank you for the magic you work, Chantel.

Lo said...

What an utterly lovely post! Poetic and delicious.

Farmer monk said...

Shea, Gumbo is something even more celestial than soup! I can smell that roux right now!

Chantel, I would love a chicken in a soup. We eat soup everyday and there is never any chicken in it ( why do Buddhist temples pretend that we don't just run right straight to the burger joint as soon as we're past the temple gates?).

This smells like Thanksgiving. Thank you!

The Loerzels said...

I too love cooking and eating soup. A simple bowl of chicken noodle is my absolute favorite!

terlee said...

The magic of creating sustenance, the science in blending taste and texture, the nourishment for body and soul...and your words bringing it all to life.

Mouthwatering.

Mary said...

Nothing like cooking up a recipe for life.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I wish I could taste your soup!! When are you having me over for dinner?

Wow, that was awkward said...

And now I'm testing the reply thing to see how rih-tarded you are...

Wow, that was awkward said...

Hmmmm. Pretty darn rih-tarded I guess.

Chantel said...

LMAO Brett....good Lord, I adore you!

Chantel said...

I'm attempting to figure out why I cannot reply to comments. Grrrr. Until then...

Robbie--I could not agree with you more!

Shae--hope your gumbo was amazing!

Lo--awww, you are the sweetest thing.

Farmer Monk--meatless soup? *sniff* Don't make me cry. (only I did recently make a parsnip with mustard soup that was rather pleasing....)

Marie--I know, soup fixes things. All sorts of things. :)

Terlee--if only you were close enough to come by for a bowl and an afternoon chat...

Mary--amen sister. Only life takes more effort...maybe I just need a nap?

FrankandMary said...

Soup tends to give the illusion of effortlessness, but not so. But it does sound like the 2 of you converse with the familiarity of old friends.

Just never enough lobster in the world. Like DeBeers diamonds, I believe they hold them back. ~Mary

BamaTrav said...

If you ever end up on the single side of life, I have dibs. :D

Marita Abraham said...

Oh dear, I loved this piece. What joy and warmth is brings to me this Sunday afternoon.

Thank you!