Sunday, November 9, 2008

Soup Lines

This week I will not be posting a recipe for soup, or any other food for that matter. Truth is this little blog is an experiment that has, I think, gone awry. I had hoped to make a simple and delicious soup each and every week then post about it here. Several things have went wrong ...

First off, there is the simple matter of time. I work outside the home - or at least I do for now - and the job itself, along with commuting back and forth, does take a toll. Also, I have the most spoiled family in the universe - used to me doing all the laundry, housework, grocery shopping, etc. - I often find it difficult just to make it through the day.

Next, there is what I call the Male Soup Aversion. My husband will eat just about anything, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, he does not consider soup an actual meal. And peparing two meals is a lot of work.

Lastly, every thing you've heard about the recent economy is true. After fifteen years with the same company, come January, my hubby will no longer have a job. And to make matters worse, the place I work is rumored to to be shutting down soon as well.

Cooking has become a drudgery. My heart just isn't in it. Too many things going on in my mind. But that doesn't mean we've completely stopped eating or joined the fast food masses or anything. We actually had some pretty good taco's last night. And, as I type, I have a giant blob of no-knead bread rising on the counter. There's something so therapeutic about baking bread(!).

Anyway, it does seem eerily like The Grapes of Wrath. I know at least 30 people who have recently lost their jobs. And oddly enough, when I first began this blog, on a whim, a little over a year ago, I almost called it Soup Lines. But being from Oklahoma, I quickly realized the negative connotations of such a title. Too many people like myself had family who had suffered through the dust bowl. I remember looking at photos of my grandmother's family, standing in front of a dilapidated home, with what appeared to be "snow" knee deep, but was actually a foot-and-a-half of sand. Grandma used to say, "You don't know what it's like to have to stand in soup lines."

Thankfully, the only soup I plan on standing in line for is at a local cafe. But things are a little scary right now. So if you're passing through Oklahoma and see a Chevy Equinox loaded down with pots and pans and kitchen utensils piled on top, that'll be me, with my family, headed west, or wherever the road takes us, probably to the next soup line. I hope.


Peter M said...

Hang in there...there's lots of work to be had and there's no shame in working.

It's tough out there but we'll all prevail.

Linda said...

I've enjoyed your blog - I peek in often though I believe this might be my first comment. I can fully relate with the busy schedule and the sometimes drudgery of cooking, planning menus, and trying out new recipes on my family. In my opinion, soup is a fine meal choice. I hope things work out for good with your job situations. Kind regards, Linda

cheshirekitykat said...

I've been checking in on your blog for awhile now, as well, and this is my first comment. I wish you well with your job situations, no one is in a stable market in this economy, and for all I know, I could be next. Again, I wish you and your family well, and if your Chevy Equinox ever makes it to Wisconsin, you can always count on your friends here for a steaming bowl of soup.

Jean W said...

Thanks for telling me about your blog; I am delighted to find you. I don't cook much so I love simple, tasty recipes from real people. Think about expanding out beyond soup - tho soup is nice, too! I am praying for all of Oklahoma and the nation and the world right now. These are indeed odd times, scarey times. I do mission work in Kenya and I know real hunger; I don't want Oklahomans to experience that! I've added you to my news aggregator and will be checking regularly. Be strong. Best-

Hungry Passport said...

About that soup-suspicious husband of yours: My dad, a farmer, was the poster dude for the meat-potatoes-and-two-vegetables crowd. Whenever my mother made a casserole, he'd look at it with suspicion, as if he thought she was hiding something in there.

But I digress. There are some great soups--more like stews I guess--that are pretty hearty. Maybe you husband would go for some of those.

My favorite is muamba nsusu, a West African soup that sounds exotic, but it has very basic ingredients that I'll bet you have on hand: chicken, chicken stock, vegetable oil, onion, tomato paste, peanut butter, salt & cayenne pepper. That's it. I serve it over rice. Essentially, simmer the chicken in stock (or use water & it will make its own), then use a bit of the liquid to dissolve some tomato paste and a healthy blob of peanut butter, and then add that to the pot with some sauteed onion, salt and cayenne and let it cook a bit to thicken. (I can give you more precise measurements if you're interested.) It sounds like a strange combo, and you never tell anybody what they're eating until after they've tasted it and decided they like it. Try it with dark meat & you can simmer longer for a more flavorful soup without dried out chicken. I use chunky peanut butter for a more interesting texture.

It's good stuff and very nourishing and satisfying. We have it at least once a week in the winter.

I used to know someone who would say, "Let me know how many people are coming over so I'll know how much water to add to the soup." As long as you're not in that category (and he was joking), then you can brew up some stuff I'll bet your man will be surprised to love.

Good luck to you both. Carol

Michelle said...

Thank you all-
I really appreciate your notes of encouragement in these hard times. It means more than you know.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Michelle, My heart goes out to you and your family. It's very scarey out there. This could happen to anyone of us. Everything will work out in time I'm sure! Hopefully now with a new administration, this economy will slowly bounce back. You and your family will be in my thoughts.
Please stay in touch!
A huge hug to you!
xox, Marie

Michelle said...

Always nice to see a friendly face, and as I said before, your kind words do mean a lot. I'm sure we will survive. And having a new administration is certainly a step in the right direction - for all of us!

ruhlman said...

Perhaps you can serve your husband hearty sides to go with the soup, something crunchy and fatty--like a baguette topped with melted cheese or slathered in garlic and oil. i made a chicken soup from monday's roast chicken last night, some homemade pasta and garlic bread. very satisfying.

don't let cooking become a drudgery! let your husband fend for himself for a while till he appreciates you!

and i like your blog idea--though yes it takes time to catch on. good luck with it.

Michelle said...

Wow! I am truly honored and humbled that you stopped by. I've mentioned you a couple times in my posts, and your book, The Soul Of A Chef, has been on my favorites list since I first began this blog. Just when I was ready to give up this little blog thing, I get several nice posts from people like you and think I'll keep going. At the risk of sounding like a great big sycophant, I truly enjoy your books, blog, and recipes. Keep 'em coming. Also, I appreciate your suggestions and like the idea of serving something crunchy and fatty with the soup - a big 'ol piece of ham and cheese on a baguette is sure to help. You've inspired me to keep cooking.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Just checking back on you, and I see Ruhlman's post. That is so awesome for you, a little shot in the arm at a much needed time, and I'm glad to hear you decided to keep going! You never know who's reading are little blogs!!!!

Michelle said...

Proud Italian Cook -
So I guess you know who Ruhlman is. Ruhlman, Bourdain, Batali, they're household names around my place. And you're right, you never know who might be lurking.