By Laura Mills
Something that says fall to me, nearly as much as leaves, pumpkins and Halloween, is soup. In my youngest days I loved good old canned tomato and chicken noodle. But my mom created countless amazing concoctions, too, the ingredients of which varied from pot to pot, and the older I got the more I grew to love what I now think of as “real” soup. Other than opening a can or reheating Mom’s care-packages, though, I have yet to make soup at home. In the past the process—the finding, chopping and otherwise preparing of ingredients, as well as the simmering of them all together—seemed to require more time and therefore more patience than I was willing to spare. But this year I’m thinking differently.
I need to make soup this year. I think it will do me a great deal of good. 2013 has so far been my craziest year yet; at this moment, as I think about it, my life could be said to resemble an array of cold, odd-sized pieces of different-colored vegetables strewn throughout a kitchen. Some pieces are already beautiful and tasty, but some pieces in their current state are also very coarse, and some are particularly bitter. Unless I allow these pieces to simmer together—slowly—and stir and season them with just the right loving touch, they will remain as they are: cold, odd, and messy.
So what better way to slow myself down and let things simmer than spending a day making soup? I don’t want a recipe. I’m going to make my soup the old-fashioned way: I’m going to wander around the produce section, choose some vegetables and anything else soup-worthy, prepare at my kitchen counter, and then stand at my stove with a big pot of water and my serving spoon. How reassuring, how healing to watch care and time transform a cold collection of odd pieces into something warm and uniquely delicious…the perfect comfort food, indeed.