Sunday, January 17, 2010

Of Stock and Taking Stock: A Post About Soup, and the Stuff Over Which We Stew

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, at least not in the usual sense. Unless you count my annual attempt at eating nothing but soup for the first month of the year and a penchant for excessive simmering over all the weighty topics about which one typically makes resolutions.

The soup experiments date as far back as at least 2005, when, according to Primary Source documents—namely the bound print journals I used to keep before I took to posting my thoughts in cyberspace—I was going to “explore” and “experiment” with various soups during the entirety of January and then invite friends over to sample the best recipes at a mid February affair that never happened. The documents show that I entered 2006 with even greater resolve, declaring that “the time was right,” and that I went so far as to spend a morning making stock, although evidence suggests that I spent as least as much time writing about and sketching stock as I did making it.

According to 2006 Me, stock plays a foundational role. It offers a depth of flavor, a basis, upon which all else rests, although it is comprised of some pretty odd components: knobby, gnarled bits like ginger root, pale, pointed chunks of something called parsnip, and items I wasn’t even sure I got right. (Are green onions and leeks the same thing?) There’s even stuff I was pretty sure I didn’t want in there, like mushrooms, that I think are gross and would never eat in ordinary circumstances. But I somehow knew that I had to just trust that this odd assemblage would give me a strong base for the warm, comforting, healthy, winter-battling food I craved.

It was then, and is now, the same as I take stock of where I am in my life. There are these ideas kicking around, many alarmingly similar to those about which ’06 Me was concerned. Some are knobby, ill-formed, or altogether shapeless. Others are pale, like ghosts I’m trying to resurrect. Most of these are writing projects, one the same abandoned book proposal over which my Y2K+6 counterpart was pained. Others ideas are foreign as the components of my stock. I audibly gasped when I read in my own 2006 words that my thoughts kept turning to adoption. Just this morning, I told my husband that I think about adoption every day, and it’s likely that I’ve thought about it on a regular basis for at least four years, although I’m positive that it has been much longer.

So here I am in the third week of 2010, eating a lot of soup, and stewing over more ideas than ever—some that have become standard fare, and others that have recently contributed their own distinctive flavors. The soups I’ve made have had varying results--a statement which I’ll allow to stand as a preview for upcoming posts. And all the rest? I’m still waiting for it all to blend into something delicious.


Life Laugh Latte said...

This was one of my favorite posts you've ever done. I really relate to the metaphors and love the month of soup idea as well. So fun! I cherish January with it's helpful way of turning us inward. Wouldn't June be a good month for that as well? Two a year might keep me a tad more balanced:) Holly

Kathleen said...

If you're as creative with a good stock as you are with words and sketches, my bet is you make really mean soup!

Julie Schuler said...

I have thought about adoption or at least fostering, but my husband came from a family that took in many foster children and does not remember that time fondly. He also felt that his family was not rightly emotionally equipped for the challenge. Right now I am just basking in a 2010 without diapers. My first diaper free year since '04.

Homemade stock is overrated. Just buy the stock and add a few sumthin' sumthins of your own seasonings. No one will know the difference because they all eat salty canned soup.

5thsister said...

I so have to introduce you to my sister. Her art, as your words, are very metaphorical. I enjoyed this post immensely.

Holly said...

You always draw me in with your words and your way to telling a story. I think about adoption a lot...I do know I am not at a place in my life for that at this moment, but fostering or adopting just seems so important to me - I remember watching Maury Povich (pre "who's your baby-daddy days") and he used to always do a show around the holidays with older kids who were just looking for a home...I was really young then, and I would just cry.

On another note, I make my own stock all the time "junk" in it.


PS-Love the sketch too.

Jen Chandler said...

I like this: life as soup :) It certainly seems I have a lot on my burners at all times, several pots bubbling and brewing. It's nice to be able to drop a few ingredients in here, add a spice or two there. I've had pots that came out wonderfully. I've also had pots I've thrown out which, nevertheless,left a bad taste in my mouth.

Good luck with your stock making! I do hope your soup this year turns out to be the best yet :)

Happy Monday,

kys said...

I love your writing. You have such a clever way with words and metaphors.

I went through a period of thinking about adoption. But my husband wasn't on board and it never happened.

PS I love soup and actually make my own stock. But never with anything exotic like parsnips.

Anonymous said...

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Gropius said...

Looking forward to all of the ideas that rise to the cream of your most prized soup this year. Your posts are always flavorful thoughts that leave one interested in the unraveling conversation.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

Can I just say that I have the most awesome group commenters in cyberspace? You guys just make my day :)

deb said...

This was a great post Cynthia.
I can relate to the many intentions. The many unfinished ones too.
I am a soup maker, stock maker, but so love those little boullion cubes.

my kids ask me to adopt all the time . Can you imagine. The youngest of my 5 is almost 12, the oldes almost 21. I think I'm in the moving on stage. Before the grandparent stage.

having said that , I do think about it a lot.
some of us are just wired that way maybe.

Life Laugh Latte said...

Thanks for coming by today. Funny we have had the same dream. Of course if it came true...when would we have time to blog?! Have a great day. Holly

JadeLD said...

I'm a big soup fan, you can make almost anything into soup! There's nothing like some crusty bread and butter and a bowl of soup on a cold day.

It's funny to look back at what we thought in past Januarys. It'll be interesting to relect on that in the future now they are all recorded on my blog!

Good luck with the soup and stewing everything over.


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