Posts Tagged ‘soup’


July 30, 2011

Today I made Soup. “You mean, ‘soup’”, you say.  No.  I mean Soup.

I am not a fan of soup.  I really don’t get it.  My MIL loves soup.  Oh, I am sure she would deny it.  I am sure she doesn’t even notice.  However, she has a vast repertoire of soups, most without names, and throughout winter at least, lunch and dinner are punctuated between Grace and Main with soup.  Sometimes you even have a choice.

It isn’t that I actively don’t like soup.  (I also like my MIL!)  I just don’t get it.  It really doesn’t do anything for me.

But Soup is different entirely.

Today I made Soup.

My parents used to make Soup.  It was a wonderful weekend food (and aroma) in our home during winter.

It would start the week before.  Mum would boil a chicken.  I never liked the smell of a chicken being boiled, but my heart would start to beat a little faster whenever it happened.  To this day I get a little overly excited at the smell of boiling chicken.  A bit like Pavlov’s Dog, methinks.

A boiling chicken meant two things.

Firstly, we would be getting yummy chicken sandwiches for lunch at school this week.

Secondly, one of the large old peanut jars would soon be sitting in the fridge, filled with hot yellow liquid which would magically divide into golden, gelatinous goop and a hard white layer (later skimmed off).

And what did a jar of stock in the fridge mean?  Next weekend we would be having Soup.

Come Saturday morning, Dad would peel and dice the veges – parsnip, swede, turnip, potato, carrot, celery and onion.  He would chop up the celery leaves (oh, they smell so good!).  He would lightly fry off the onion and then all the goodies would go into the stock pot with a couple of handfuls of barley.  (If we were really lucky, sometimes he would toss in alphabet noodles for a treat.  Can you get alphabet noodles anymore?)  The stock pot would slowly simmer and the aroma would infuse the house.

Aaaah.  The smell of home in winter.

The first serving was Saturday lunch.  By the small bowl served at the start of dinner on Saturday night, the flavour was more developed.  On Sunday, it was served with bread.  And on Sunday night, it was thick and stewy as we finished it off.  Unless of course, we had eaten too much already and it needed to be drastically watered down to go the distance.

As a child, I was sick of Soup by Sunday.  (By then I would even have referred to it merely as ‘soup’).  And sadly, although I loved this Soup, I took it for granted.

As an adult it has an almost spiritual aura about it.  The smells evoke the memories of a happy home, a warmth that was not just from the stock pot, a gathering of family.  I lean over the pot to test the balance of flavours and I think of my brothers and sisters.  I wonder with love what they are doing at that moment.  I remember sharing this with them.  The steam feels like a big hug.

I am delighted today.  My husband and all my children – even the baby just starting “solids” enjoyed Soup.  Hopefully, one day, they will also lean over a pot on bubbling vegetables and think of their loved ones.

I am happy, for today I made Soup.

Stone Soup

September 27, 2010

Possum is 4 years 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 2 months

Today we tried a different technique for story-telling.  Instead of reading a book, I told the boys the story, “Stone Soup“.

It was hard going.  It was one of those short attention span days.

We acted out the story, too, using wooden and material vegetables.  The wooden veges needed to be chopped before going in the saucepans, so that was lots of fun.

We also discussed what would happen if you made a soup with only a stone in it.  Would it have any taste?  I had actually sterilised some stones so that we could cook them up, but it really wasn’t soup-eating-weather.

Post Script 2 months later:

I had thought that the boys were not that interested in this week’s activities, but I have caught them playing “Stone Soup”, including the retelling of the story many, many times since then.  Just goes to show you, they might not LOOK like they are listening…

Week 4 – Seeds!!

September 14, 2010

Possum is 4 years 3 months

Chicken is 2 years 1 month

This week we based our Home School fun on the book, Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.  And didn’t the boys just love this one!

I couldn’t read this book to them often enough.  It was one of those books that as soon as you finish reading it they just flip it back to the front and ask you to read it again.

I really was surprised.  I bought this book online after reading many recommendations about it.  However, when it arrived, I just couldn’t see the appeal myself.  It seemed harmless enough, and full of bright pictures, but it just didn’t really grab me.  Obviously I am not the target audience!

We had lots of fun with seeds.  The best fun of all was the sensory table.  (In summer it is a water table, but I try to do some different things with it sometimes.)  I filled it with birdseed, anticipating the fun the boys would have.  

I surprised myself, too, because I had to just keep running my hands through it, it felt so good.

I also figured it would be an easy clean thing.  We live in an area with lots of birds – sulfur crested cockatoos, miners, rosellas, parakeets, king parrots, magpies, kookaburras – so I figured that any that fell on the ground would be eaten.  Ha, ha!  Wrong!  For some reason the birds will only eat out of our front yard and not our back yard.

I had planned some formal activities like seed counts and seed sorts, but the boys did all of this naturally in their play, so I figured why labour the point?

Of course, we did also make some super yummy vegetable soup.  I didn’t get any pictures of that – too busy trying to control the chaos!  But my two little sous-chefs loved it.  Chicken keeps asking me to make more.

I do wonder ‘though, if the distraction they caused when I was measuring in the noodles was stage managed…