Today I’m making soup.
You hear people talk about taste or smell memories, but I have soup memories. For me, there’s something soul satisfying about the entire process…preparing, serving, sharing, and eating.
We lost Ronnie’s dad unexpectedly a few years ago, and at the conclusion of that horrendous day I made soup. Two different recipes, one right after the other. I stood heart heavy at the kitchen counter, but the process of chopping, browning, stirring, and simmering was soothing in a way that I couldn’t properly explain. It was mindless, homey work, and it served several purposes. Most of all, people still need to eat, and I could feed them. It’s life affirming at a time when things felt bleak and uncertain. It’s funny to me now that potato leek soup will always conjure up memories of Jay Martin, but I had never actually made that for him when he was with us.
Today I’m making chicken and dumplings. Such a warm, hearty soup suits today…snowy, bright, and freezing. A good friend of ours recovered from surgery in our home a couple years ago, and this was the first solid meal I made her. Whenever the sherry hits the roux and sends up that cloud of heady steam, I think of Jill. She’s eternally tied to the recipe now in a very real way.
For a year, I tried to duplicate a recipe for a bowl of soup that Ronnie and I shared in Taipei, of all places. We were on our way home from a trip to Singapore, and we were stuck in the Tai Pei airport for a six hour layover. We were so jet lagged and tired that even my eyelashes hurt. After countless laps around the airport, we were slightly nauseous, grumpy, and still had the knowledge an impending 17 hours in the air once we actually got to leave this airport. We needed to eat something, but there was nothing familiar or comforting in any way, which was what we both craved. We settled on a busy restaurant and pointed to a deep bowl of some sort of soup. It was perfect. Deeply fragrant, spicy, and absolutely mood lifting.
I haven’t managed to perfectly replicate it here at home, but it’s close. We call it our Singapore Soup.