Here in the Northeast, a chill is in the air. I’m relieved to say so, since it’s late October and last week it was inexplicably over 80 degrees for a few days. You know what autumn for realz means: leaves will fall and you will eat soup. This is not a recipe, but it plays one on TV.
First: go to a farm, a farmstand or a farmers market. Talk to a farmer! Farmers are so interesting! Pick out your favorite soup vegetables, even better if they’re organic. Which vegetables? Well, ask yourself this tricky question: Hey, you, what things are delicious? Then buy those. The farmer wins!
Prepare your vegetables for roasting. You may peel things. Here, I peeled a butternut squash and a passel of apples. I chopped up the peels and fed them to the chickens. The chickens win! I quartered onions and saved the tops and peels for stock. Future Me wins! Then I added spices I like, salt, pepper, bay leaves, a cinnamon stick and fennel seeds to my vegetables, swished them all with olive oil and roasted them at 350 until the squash was fork tender. My house smelled great, so again: I win!
I let these cool, pulled out the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then I pureed my vegetables with an immersion blender. Those are fun to play with, so I win again! Then I simmered my velvety puree, added some apple juice until I was happy with the texture and seasoned until I was super happy. Happiness is good, so I win again!
- the farmer wins
- the chickens win
- future Me wins
- I win
- I continue to win
- I win again
- you win
- everyone wins!
Finally, Pete, who is a chef and sometimes is sick of cooking, had a fine meal without having to lift a hand. Pete wins!
So: this isn’t a recipe, it’s a method. You can make yourself really good food for truly next to nothing, and besides you, a whole lot of people and critters win. Go, you!
Carrots! Tiny, tiny carrots!
Unabashed eavesdropping! Unabashed!
Siobhan’s laid up in the local hospital. Pete had errands to run and hates hospitals, so he dropped me off, barely slowing the car enough for me to make a heroic leap. I brought her coffee and flirted with the occupational therapist. Afterward, Pete and I got to have lunch together like two people who do that. At the next table, a man I couldn’t see told his companions about the time his house was burglarized. “It was a long time ago,” he said.
He and his wife were upstairs when someone broke in and they caught him. The burglar got away.
“Did you ever get your property back?” a voice asked.
“No, he didn’t get much. A computer, part of my wallet, some credit cards. I didn’t get that back.”
But the story took a remarkable turn: the burglar came back the next night. The man’s wife was folding laundry and saw the burglar trying to get break in, right in front of her. They called the police and the burglar was arrested. He did five years.
I’m thinking the burglar could’ve benefitted from some vocational training. Obviously, he was really bad at crime. And locksmithing. Perhaps he could have become a fine plumber.
The raccoons have been gently evicted from the eaves of our house and relocated to a more rural locale. We hope for the best for them, but at least one did not have the best survival instincts. Fingers crossed, they live long, happy lives, full of delightful and mysterious leftovers. We hope so, but they couldn’t stay here. Pete found one of the babies inside the chicken run, nibbling chicken food, near very alarmed chickens, so that had to be the end of that.
I have one more week of American Sign Language class. Earlier this evening, I suddenly realized I’d acquired enough of the basics to tell a story. As you know, stories are my thing; being able to tell a story is kind of hip, kind of cool, kind of Charlie. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell a story in class, which would be much like tearing off my Foster Grants to reveal my superhero identity, but since I am a middle-aged person, I have zero doubt my young classmates will notice a bird, a plane, Superman.
I’m three weeks into a six week college course. My co-workers joke that three weeks have flown by. To me, it feels like I’ve been at this for months, in a quonset hut in Antarctica, and, when daylight lasts six months, when did I last feed the penguins?
The look I get when I don’t know all the words to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
My teacher pointed at me and asked why I’m not taking the second summer semester of American Sign Language. I said, “I didn’t know I could,” but I meant I think I might have a nervous breakdown. Next time you’re tempted to tell a toddler to get a grip, realize that language acquisition is no day at the beach.