January 17th, 2012
As I looked at some of the site stats from last week I realized that on January 13 I had 13 posts and 13 followers. Not that it has any deep meaning but I thought it was interesting enough to note. I had discussed with a loyal reader that I might delve into some conspiracy theories about politicians, corn syrup, and wheat for my thirteenth post, but I decided that I just don’t have enough information yet to start sounding like a paranoid weirdo. I will just stick to being the weirdo trying to eat “all-natural” for the time being. (Sorry Kirsten)
The summer I was engaged to be married I stayed a week or so with my grandparents to help take care of the house and them after a recent hospital stay. My grandpa’s second wife Helen (and by all rights my grandma-I just never got around to calling her that) had been in the hospital with pneumonia. I don’t remember a lot about what I did there but I do remember cooking their meals. The most memorable of these was the night Helen taught me to make vegetable soup. I didn’t even write the recipe down. I guess I loved the soup so much that it just burned into my brain. I had grown up on vegetable soup and never really cared for it. Helen’s soup was different because she didn’t use roast and she actually made a stock first. I always thought making vegetable stock was some difficult time consuming task. Not so. Cut up a few veggies, add some spices and water, and let it simmer. Who knew such a simple task could make so big of a difference in taste?
I was in the kitchen and as Helen sat in her chair she told me all of the steps: “Cut up some peeled carrots, celery, onion, add shredded cabbage, oregano, salt, garlic, and cover them with water. We’ll just let it cook a while and you come sit back down.” I know Helen appreciated everything I was doing and honestly, if I didn’t have a life waiting for me somewhere else I would have stayed right there and taken care of them. After awhile she told me to add some potatos, browned hamburger that had been rinsed with cold water, a can of corn and 1/2 large can of tomato juice. Add some more water and let it simmer. I will be honest. I wasn’t really looking forward to that soup. It was the middle of summer and I didn’t think I liked vegetable soup. To this day it is my favorite soup. Don’t believe it’s that good? Shannon didn’t like vegetable soup either. He had been raised on the same kind of soup that I had. He loves this soup too.
Grandma Helen passed on later that summer but I still make my Grandpa this soup. He asks my mom for it sometimes but always reminds her to make sure she makes it the way I do. He knows that I make it the right way. I can’t wait to share it with you. It is the perfect example of a pure, clean, natural food recipe. It also reminds me that sometimes cooking good food takes a little time out of my life. As my oldest daughter scoots a chair up to the counter excited to help me prepare whatever I might be making I realize that is okay. What else is really that important?