Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ready for the Snow

Fred says I'm most happy when a pot of soup is simmering on the stove.  Maybe that's true.  Soup making is the only cooking I enjoy.  Fred is getting ready for winter in his own way, while today I made Tommy's Soup.  We had enough for dinner on a humid, summer night, and also enough to stock the freezer.

This soup can only be made when our garden tomatoes are producing an abundant crop because ripe tomatoes are the key ingredient.  Store-bought tomatoes would never work.  We need many other vegetables too, and I add whatever is available from the garden.  This year we have okra!  The original recipe calls for okra but we've never had it before.  After tasting this year's soup, I realize it is a must. Okra enhances flavor and texture both.

So Arielle shucked the corn we bought earlier from a nearby farm.  She sat outside in the yard, carefully removing all the silk while the Rose of Sharon bloomed and the insects made riotous sounds.  Liana in a sundress and bare feet snapped the green beans, freshly picked, and I tramped through the muddy garden to choose the red and green peppers and one perfect jalapeno, not too hot.

One by one we dropped the vegetables into the pot:  tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, green beans, carrots, and okra.  Each one added to the wonderful fragrance in the kitchen as it cooked.  

At the first snowfall, when the garden is barren and the insects silent, when we are bundled in fleece and Fred fires up the woodstove, I will take the soup from the freezer.  We will remember and celebrate the summer's bounty.  We will be thankful, because food is a gift.  This food, this soup nourishes body and soul.  "He did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."  Acts 14:17

Tommy, an unknown (to me) Cherokee in North Carolina, would probably be amazed to find out his soup recipe has become part of our family's traditions.  My mother passed the recipe on to me.  She knows all about soup and tradition.

 "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  Psalm 34:8

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