Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Say Soup

This most recent trip to the hospital was the very first time in the five and a half  years of Colby's life that just one of us went with her. Colby and Craig went and Coral and I stayed home. I felt confident in Craig and worried only about his sleep. I arranged for friends to visit and relieve him and provide some variation during the long days in the small hospital room.

However confident I felt at our initial decision that just he would go down, I started to reflect on the fact of that confidence more and more as the days stretched by. I felt amazed, awed by it. I feel truly, absolutely confident in my partner to take our young daughter all the way to NYC to the hospital for testing, medication changes and multiple meetings with the neurology team.  I felt totally confident that he would make the right decisions for her and for us, that he would call me, include me, be honest with me and be her absolute protector. That I, her highly involved mother, could surrender with a state of calm, almost no anxiety, was a real revelation to me about the state of trust and communication between Craig and I.

I told him how grateful I felt that such a potentially stressful time and decision felt so clear.  For all my episodic fantasies of worry, I had no core, gut anxiety.  It felt extraordinary, a large ripe fruit of our work together. I told him I loved him, and that I was grateful for him and for the family we have together.

We did not talk about it again until after our first dinner when they were finally back home.  After the kids were asleep and we were recapping all the events of our respective time, he told me how much that meant to him, that I had felt that trust and confidence and that I had communicated my feelings.  He said it sustained and nourished him and made him feel so loved.

It would have been easy for me not to communicate my love and confidence. First of all, it seemed obvious, after all, I had stayed home, that surely implied a trust. And I wasn't grilling him and micromanaging, so that also relays trust. And we were both busy, each with a kid and all our work, and there was so much to talk about with just the hospital updates, doctor meetings, Colby's withdrawal off a drug, the seizure reports. Maybe it was because it was so obvious and we talked and shared our love anyway, in such a critical time, that the message meant so much.

At a critical moment, like the hospital trust and communication are necessary. But there are the trillions of daily moments too, surprising, practical places that trust and communication smooth the way, like when we talk about what to have for dinner. 

A cool, early fall evening, I am yearning for soup. There is a Kubocha squash that needs to be cooked, some corn and potatoes. Craig asks for ideas for dinner, and I say soup. He listens. And in speaking and listening, the soup comes to be. 

Words of love and appreciation combined with his love and appreciation for my love and appreciation, and soon you have an exponential love, an expanding and blooming of love that quickly surpasses the quiet, personal and internal state of love.  The love we have when shared grows beyond our imagination. Then as that shared love is witnessed your whole life is bigger, warmer and feels, nestled in your chest, like a nourishing bowl of soup, feeding this hunger and craving for love, to love and be loved.

You Say Soup Recipe

about 2 cups of fresh cranberry beans
corn/corn cream (4 ears)
5 medium small potatoes
1 medium-small Kubocha squash-oven roasted, or any rich, golden squash
chicken stock or water
celery leaves (from the heart) shredded
salt & pepper to taste
bay leaf & fresh thyme
olive oil

Shell the cranberry beans, put in a pot with enough water to cover by a few inches. Add a bay leaf or two, some sprigs of thyme, a medium carrot cut into large pieces, a medium onion halved and a good glug of olive oil. Cook slowly until tender, skimming continually. You could also use chicken stock instead of water.

Cut and seed the squash. Cut into large chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Put on a baking sheet into an oven pre-heated to 425. Bake until browned and done but make sure the flesh is still firm. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin and dice about 1/2" cubes and reserve.

Meanwhile cut the potatoes into about 1/2" dice and saute in olive oil until almost done. Remove from pan, cool and reserve.

Remove the kernels from 2 ears of corn and blanch for about a minute in rapidly boiling, lightly salted water. Skim any bit that come to the surface. Cool them in cold water and rinse again. Set aside on a kitchen towel.

When the beans are tender check the broth for seasoning and adjust to taste. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer slowly.

Take the kernels off the other 2 ears of corn and put in a blender with about a tablespoon of water and puree. Strain through a chinois into a bowl, pressing gently (but not forcing) with a wooden spoon. Pour the filtered liquid into a small pot and heat over medium -low heat while whisking. When the starch in the corn begins to thicken add about 4 or 5 tablespoons of butter (in chunks) while continuing to whisk. Add the reserved blanched kernels and remove from heat. (See Thomas Keller's "The French Laundry Cookbook" for exhaustive detail on creamed corn process.)

Stir the reserved "creamed corn" into the soup. Then add the shredded celery leaves to the corn, potato, bean mixture.

To serve, ladle soup into large bowls. top each bowl with some of the roasted squash and serve. you can always add pieces of bacon or pancetta as well!

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