Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday Soup on the Road

Hello All! The reason I'm posting late this week is because SS was on the road and I didn't really want to advertise on the internet that we were away from home. We're back now, so now I can tell y'all all about it!

The Southerner and I went to visit The Parents (road trip!). Mum asked me if I would mind doing SS on Friday night since we were scheduled to head home on Saturday, but we decided it would be more fun to change our dates and have SS at their house. It was a much bigger deal than our usual SS here on the island as Mum had invited about sixty people! Although we were sorry they didn't all come, it was a bit of a relief too because that's a lot of soup and bread! As it is, I think there was probably around thirty people and we made four soups and five loaves of bread.

My grandmother, who follows these posts regularly and LOVES soup even more than I do requested French Onion, which I made for her with Swiss cheese toasts to go in it. I made the White Bean with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes (from a few weeks ago) for the crockpot, and Julia Child's potato-leek soup (fabulous and sooo simple) in Mum's pot. Those are all soups I've made before though, so I had to have a new one too. I asked my eight year old niece what she would like and she said "spinach?", so that's what I made.

She wanted a cream of spinach and I'd just bought that fabulous soup cookbook that I mentioned a few months ago here and sure enough, there was a cream of spinach soup recipe. I have to admit that it is probably not a recipe I could afford to make up here, but since Mum was footing the bill, I jumped all over the opportunity. Plus, because we had three other soups, we didn't have to make a lot of it, just enough. If I served it here as the only soup, I think it would cost me about $30 or so for seven or eight quarts. I have to be more economical than that, but maybe in the summer when I can use fresh spinach that The Southerner grew instead of frozen, I will be able to afford that.

Anyway, it turned out really lovely. It has celery and leeks in it (and spinach, of course) and veggie stock and you puree it and add cream (I used Silk). The unusual bit that made it particularly good was the seasoning. It calls for mint and marjoram, plus the usual (salt and pepper). Very, very tasty.

My cousin Zach, who is also eight, was not impressed with any of the soups (pesky vegetables!), but I promised not to repeat what he said the spinach soup looked like! It made me laugh though, as no one's ever described any of my soups quite that way. To his credit, he did try it, although I think it burned his tongue, so he probably wasn't the best judge of the taste. Poor Zach, he had a hard SS because my friend Dawn brough fancy chocolate bars and he got a mouthful of one of them before anyone told him it had dried mushrooms in it. Yeah...mushrooms! I helped him rinse out the sink after he spit that out! I could feel his pain!!! Luckily, I don't like dark chocolate, so I didn't accidentally eat any. Mushrooms are fine in soup, but in chocolate? Pass.

As for the guests, it was very exciting! It was mostly family, with a few friends for good measure. Hmmm...maybe there was only one friend there, now that I think about it. The other one that was supposed to come called at 7:15pm saying that she'd gone into Ikea at 3:45 and just found her way out again. That's happened to us too, which is why we stay far away from there!

Anyway, there were several branches of the family. My parents, my dad's sisters and some of my cousins, my dad's aunts and some of his cousins, my grandmother, my mum's brothers and sister, my cousins on that side, kids of some of my cousins, my brother, my niece, and of course me and The Southerner. In case you didn't know this, The Southerner is an only child and looked a little dazed by four generations, but he held up reasonably well!

Anyway, it was really fun and on the way home, The Southerner and I decided that we'd try and make a January trip next year and have a big Sunday Soup down there again (don't worry, Mum, we'll visit before then too)! Oh, and lest any of you were worried about people showing up here at home and wondering where we were, we had that covered too. The Brits and The Neighbour hosted a very quiet SS here...well, I don't actually know how quiet they were, but there was only the three of them, and if they were noisy, well...the cats are cool and didn't say a mumblin' word*.

Sunday Soup has taught me a lot of things, but probably the most important is that "it is what it is". What I mean by that is there is no reason to worry if you have enough soup, or plenty of bread, or how many people are coming... You just make the food, clean the house to the best of your ability without it being an all-day process, and you enjoy yourself. I have never run out of soup or bread yet, but I can honestly say that someday I probably will, just because more people come than I have soup for, and when that day comes, I'll just offer everyone another cup of tea and the conversation will go on...that's what it's about, right? Gathering together with people you love and having a good time.

*A slightly mangled line from Hoyt Axton's song Della and the Dealer.

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