Wind, snow, short days, floors cold to bare feet, icicles hanging from the eves, sun dulled by clouds, yet here in the deepest , dreary part of winter, when the suns glow is almost totally for show, the warming pot of homemade soup, sitting perched on a glowing burner, warms ones soul and well as ones body. It fills the air with welcome savoryness, as it gently simmers creating a steaming blend of colors and memories.
that's my wooden spoon over the pot so it doesn't boil over
Friday was always soup night when I was growing up, but I seem to get up every wintry Saturday morning and think, "Lets see what I can find in the fridge that I can make soup out of." And if I am really ambitious, I make some bread to go with it. I keep a container in the freezer to collect leftover carrots, corn, green beans, peapods, even leftover mashed potato, just anything that might be good in soup, and there are always cans of light and dark kidney bean cannellini bean, butter beans, navy beans even fava beans under the counter to enrich the pot.
However I was out of onions and you can't make soup without onions. Wrapped in several layers to keep out the chill of a nearly a sub zero morning, I went out to my car and much to my delight it started right up. And I drove 14 miles into town under a frosty sun for a bag of onions, a big bag of onions. Actually I did buy a few other things, also.
The staff was busily stocking shelves and I picked out several things I needed, and a few I didn't need but wanted. There were very few customers, but then most people aren't even awake this early on a Saturday, at least I don't think so. Several times I wished I was back home in my warm bed. 'Are you making soup too?" a voice said from behind me, I turned to see a well dressed older woman reaching for a can of mushrooms, "Yes" I replied as I retrieved a can for her. "Why thank you." she said " Nothing warms you up like soup." "That's quite true, and nothing tastes quite so good on a cold day." I said."My mother and my grandmother always made soup especially over the weekend. And it always tasted so good. they didn't have a recipe just took what was left over."
She looked down at her cart then up at me and said, "I can still taste my Grandmother's spetzel soup. My Grandma could make a bowl of rocks taste good." And of down the aisle she went, to be meet up with a couple who called her Grandma." I was hoped she told them about the "bowl of rocks", it is something I will remember.
On my way home I thought about what she said, I wondered what her Grandmothers kitchen looked like, if she cooked on a wood or more likely coal fired stove. Did they have biscuits or bread with their soup, I was feeling a warm glow like being in my Grandmother kitchen by the time I got home.
I decided that my soup needed some spetzels as well as onions, so I blended 2 large eggs, salt, pepper, some dill, or whatever you would like even some grated cheese or bacon crumbles will work, set that aside and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. While I was waiting I blended a cup of flour and a generous tablespoon of melted butter into the egg mixture. the water came to the boil and I scooped up forkfuls of the mixture and stirred them into the boiling water, they float almost instantly meaning they are now tender little bits of dumpling or gnocchi like yumminess. I usually stir them directly into the soup, they enrich and thicken the soup. However I wanted you, my dear reader, to see what they looked like before I scooped them out with a perforated spoon and plopped them into my soup.
The amount of fragrant steam this generated made photography a challenge, the soup was more good. I ate and watched the snow drift down over the silent garden and dormant forests, though about when I read "Stone Soup" to my son, and smiled.