Friday, January 31, 2014

Jon Frankel

The French used to refer to the king as The Baker. They felt ultimately that their bread came from him, and bread was the most fundamental thing. In Thai, I am told, a greeting is, 'did you eat rice today?'. In the west, for Christians, bread is the body of god! Bread is symbol of resurrection: the grain is bruised (ground) and sacrificed, only to rise again in the oven, transformed into bread.
-Jon Frankel, poet, novelist, The Last Bender (blog)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Make Mocha

Years ago we stopped to visit a friend in NH and we went to the Main Street and I got a cup of hot mocha. I never forgot how good it tasted on that wintry day. Taste memories are very powerful motivators.

It is very cold today indoors and out. I just reheated eggplant mushroom olive lasagna leftovers from last week's Miracle Soup class and I had to have a mug of hot mocha as a chaser.

I reheated leftover coffee and dissolved a teaspoon of cocoa powder and teaspoon of sugar and added milk. Very simple and very good.

Make it very hot or the cocoa and sugar will not dissolve!

Take out your ice skates!

FDR's Inaugural Luncheon 1945

Two thousand people attended FDR's 1945 inaugural luncheon, and consumed chicken salad made from 200 chickens, plus 170 dozen rolls, almost 100 gallons of coffee, and 165 cakes (which were unfrosted because sugar and butter were rationed).
- Writer's Almanac

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Svelte Chefs Secrets



In the great loneliness of the world, when a writer's voice makes you feel befriended, you want more of it, even after the person is gone.
I feel this way about Laurie Colwin, Marion Cunningham, MFK Fisher, and Oscar Hijuelos.

Baker's Hours

I am on a new pattern: asleep at 7 up at 1:30. Baker's hours. The colder it is the more I bake. Now my dog wakes me at 1AM, drooling.

It might be time to keep a sleep diary.

Deep-Dish Pizza Improv

I made another deep dish pizza with bread dough I had on hand. I used my 12 inch cast iron skillet as the baking pan and baked it at 450 for quite a while. I am a dough-head. I will throw anything in a pizza pie crust. I added leaves of fresh spinach, sliced onions thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes, tomato paste, garlic olive oil herbs and balsamic vinegar and sprinkles of cayenne pepper Romano cheese, pepper-jack cheese and salt.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nonni's Spaghetti Pie

I used to make spaghetti pie a lot in the 1990’s. You cook some spaghetti, drain it, fluff it in a pie plate with 2 beaten eggs and grated cheese, add spaghetti sauce with hamburger, top with mozzarella cheese and bake. It’s a guilty pleasure. Kids like it.

You can add other stuff to it if you like; zucchini, mushrooms, pepperoni. Whatever suits your fancy.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marion Cunningham's Breakfast Book

I was struck by her warmth, honesty and, well, wholesomeness, too. It came as no surprise, then, that she would write a book devoted solely to breakfast, a meal well matched to her personality.

. . .Breakfast is a way of bringing people together. ``The deeper reason that breakfast inspires me is . . . that we often find ourselves sharing the same house with strangers. The meaning of home has disappeared. Gathering at the table for breakfast allows us to weave our lives with others, and that should be a daily pleasure.``

12 muffins

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 22 minutes

1 ounce piece fresh ginger root, unpeeled

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar

Rind (colored part only) of 2 lemons, removed with a zester or grater

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Fifteen minutes before baking, place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Mince the ginger in a food processor or blender. You should have about 1/4 cup. Transfer to a small skillet and add 1/4 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.


Rock Stars of Organic Farming


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pope Francis I

I love tango, and I used to dance when I was young.

Money has to serve, not to rule.

-Pope Francis I

The Threat by Denise Duhamel

my mother pushed my sister out of the apartment door with an empty suitcase because she kept threatening to run away my sister was sick of me getting the best of everything the bathrobe with the pink stripes instead of the red the soft middle piece of bread while she got the crust I was sick with asthma and she thought this made me a favorite

I wanted to be like the girl in the made-for-tv movie Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring which was supposed to make you not want to run away but it looked pretty fun especially all of the agony it put your parents through and the girl was in California or someplace warm with a boyfriend and they always found good food in the dumpsters at least they could eat pizza and candy and not meat loaf the runaway actress was Sally Field or at least someone who looked like Sally Field as a teenager the Flying Nun propelled by the huge wings on the sides of her wimple Arnold the Pig getting drafted in Green Acres my understanding then of Vietnam I read Go Ask Alice and The Peter Pan Bag books that were designed to keep a young girl home but there were the sex scenes and if anything this made me want to cut my hair with scissors in front of the mirror while I was high on marijuana but I couldn't inhale because of my lungs my sister was the one to pass out behind the church for both of us rum and angel dust

and that's how it was my sister standing at the top of all those stairs that lead up to the apartment and she pushed down the empty suitcase that banged the banister and wall as it tumbled and I was crying on the other side of the door because I was sure it was my sister who fell all ketchup blood and stuck out bones my mother wouldn't let me open the door to let my sister back in I don't know if she knew it was just the suitcase or not she was cold rubbing her sleeves a mug of coffee in her hand and I had to decide she said I had to decide right then

From Girl Soldier, Garden Street Press, 1996. Reprinted with permission of Denise Duhamel.

My Childhood Explained

Identified patient

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Identified patient, or "IP", is a term used in a clinical setting to describe the person in a dysfunctional family who has been subconsciously selected to act out the family's inner conflicts as a diversion; who is the split-off carrier of the (perhaps transgenerational) family disturbance.

The term is also used in the context of organizational management, in circumstances where an individual becomes the carrier of a group problem.

Origins and characteristics

The term emerged from the work of the Bateson Project on family homeostasis, as a way of identifying a largely unconscious pattern of behavior whereby an excess of painful feelings in a family lead to one member being identified as the cause of all the difficulties - a scapegoating of the IP.

The identified patient - also called the "symptom-bearer" or "presenting problem" - may display unexplainable emotional or physical symptoms, and is often the first person to seek help, perhaps at the request of the family. However, while family members will typically express concern over the IP's problems, they may instinctively react to any improvement on the identified patient's part by attempting to reinstate the status quo.

Virginia Satir viewed the identified patient as a way of both concealing and revealing a family's secret agendas. Conjoint family therapy stressed accordingly the importance in group therapy of bringing not only the identified patient but the extended family in which their problems arose into the therapy - with the ultimate goal of relieving the IP of the broader family feelings they have been carrying. In such circumstances, not only the IP but their siblings as well may end up feeling the benefits.

R. D. Laing saw the IP as a function of the family nexus: "the person who gets diagnosed is part of a wider network of extremely disturbed and disturbing patterns of communication". Later formulations suggest that the patient may be an 'emissary' of sorts from the family to the wider world, in an implicit familial call for help, as with the reading of juvenile delinquency as a coded cry for help by a child on his parents' behalf. There may then be an element of altruism in the IP's behavior - playing sick to prevent worse things happening in the family, such as a total family breakdown.


In a family where the parents need to assert themselves as powerful figures and caretakers, often due to their own insecurities, they may designate one or more of their children as being inadequate, subconsciously assigning to the child the role of someone who cannot cope by themselves. For example, the child may exhibit some irrational problem that requires the constant care and attention of the parents.
In Dibs, an account of a child therapy, Virginia Axline considered that perhaps the parents, "quite unconsciously...chose to see Dibs as a mental defective rather than as an intensified personification of their own emotional and social inadequacy".
A child may be regarded as a bully and a troublemaker in school and labeled a "problem child," when he may in fact be expressing conflicts and problems, such as abuse from home, by acting out and being "bad."
Gregory Bateson considered that sometimes "the identified patient sacrifices himself to maintain the sacred illusion that what the parent says makes sense", and that "the identified patient exhibits behavior which is almost a caricature of that loss of identity which is characteristic of all the family members".

Jung independently concluded that a neurosis "comes from the totality of a man's life...from his psychic experience within the family or even his social group", and saw himself as something of a case in point: "I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant impersonal karma within a family, which is passed on from parents to children".


'The anti-psychiatry movement of the Sixties...proposed the theory that it was families that were mad rather than simply the individuals who were scapegoated by them as the "sick member"',thereby extending the original boundaries of the IP concept. 'From this position, it was a short hop, given the ethos of the Sixties, to doubting the normality of normality itself...the mad were the super-sane'. Laing might insist overtly that it is 'not necessarily the case that the person who is "out of formation" is more "on course" than the formation. There is no need to idealize someone just because he is labelled "out of formation"'.In practice, however, he and his followers tended to claim that "more often than not, a person diagnosed as 'mentally ill' is the emotional scapegoat for the turmoil in his or her family or associates, and may, in fact, be the 'sanest' member of this group...the least disturbed member of the entire group."

Later family therapists would insist by contrast that 'you mustn't take anyone's side....That's why I believe the ideas of R. D. Laing and Cooper have done a lot of harm. It's natural, from an emotional point of view, to side with the scapegoat, doesn't work. Supporting only the scapegoat makes the rest of the family less secure, more paranoid, even less able to "own" their bad feelings'.

Literary analogues

In The Family Reunion, the protagonist is told, 'It is possible You are the consciousness of your unhappy family, Its bird sent flying through the purgatorial flame', and comes to see his life as 'a dream Dreamt through me by the minds of others'.
See also

Dysfunctional family
Family therapy
Martti Olavi Siirala
Münchausen syndrome by proxy
Narcissistic parents
Psychological projection
Role suction
Sacrificial lamb

Loaves of Love

I woke thinking how many loaves will feed 150 people for Tuesday night's 4PM supper. My answer is 20 loaves which are the equivalent 10 of my home batches in my 5 quart bowls 6 cups of flour each. I have a huge basket and cloth to wrap the breads in. I can use my red wagon to wheel the basket, and dough over if the snow is off the sidewalk. Or wheel the dough over and bake in the Garland ovens. Or mix the dough at the kitchen.

Derek Walcott

For every poet it is always morning in the world. History a forgotten, insomniac night; History and elemental awe are always our early beginning, because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.
-Derek Walcott

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Community Supper Snow Storm

The snow we got last night is so fluffy it was like make believe! I was able to shovel it all, twice. We got eleven inches! Luckily we don't have to shovel roof and garage this time. Late last night I walked to see a friend who lives a mile away and I was the only person out walking. I saw the dog-catchers mom sweeping her stairs. We chatted.

I walked home at one AM, Beautiful.

Long underwear is keeping us warm this winter. We have to keep the house at fifty degrees because our beloved honkin' steam cruise ship boiler uses oil, and oil is beyond expensive. We also use a quartz heater and electric radiator and electric hot shots, that we call our lap dogs. My curtains and drapes, help keep out the drafts.

I just signed on to bake loaves for Tuesday's community supper. I am excited. If they get the flour I will happily bake. They have an authentic restaurant style Garland gas stove, a real treat. The Mount Saint Charles high school jazz band is performing too at 4:30-5:30PM. It's going to be a spirit-lifter for the community.

Last night when we put out the buffet of serving trays full of ziti with tomato sauce, Parmesan chicken, French cut green beans, rolls and butter, green salad, hot coffee and chocolate and vanilla cakes. I saw all of my neighbors line up for supper. I had to look away because tears came. It's 1930 all over again.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Deep Dish Spontinaeity

Last night I was rehearsing for my (free) cooking class, using other flour. I made a few Mae-West's-Breasts breads and then spontaneously I decided to make a pizza crust. I set it up as a deep dish pizza in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. I used olive oil, leftover defrosted tomato sauce, sliced onions, fresh garlic, chopped black olives. It baked for 1/2 hour in the oven. Today it is excellent for breakfast with spinach salad and home spun mustard honey vinaigrette dressing.

Woonsocket Fashion

I look like an outer Mongolian princess. I'm wearing my summer flip flops with oatmeal socks and my long johns. I'm wearing my black fleece hat, my three yellow, red, and purple scarves, with my thick black bathrobe; the one with the red, yellow blue, stars and crescent moons. I should take a photo! I walked Bill to the car at 6:00 AM secretly hoping someone from the 'hood would see me!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Inner Barbie Anatomy


Morning Musings to Share With Love

I worked as a prep chef in restaurants. I made vats of chili, and
chicken soup, marinades for grilled chicken and pork, grandma's
chocolate pudding, greek spinach pies and pecan pies. I love to feed
but when I cook in huge quantities in the soup kitchen's Alice in
Wonderland pots and pans, my appetite shuts off. I have to go home
and take a walk and when my appetite returns, cook something
completely different. This is how I learned to cook way back then. I
would wake up and want to make something I cooked the week before but
this time I had to figure out how to make it for just me.

In order to feed we have to be balanced and fulfilled ourselves.
Perhaps hungry chef is passing along his deprivation. Maybe not.
Maybe the hungry chef is feeding, and tending to his deprivation. As
a child my mother was stuffing us with her hungers and neurosis and
greed and then pulling them out of us with laxatives and enemas. I
was sick to my stomach at every meal. I became phobic about the table
and the toilet, and terrified of my mother's mouth. She had perfect
teeth and wore red lipstick and sunglasses to the breakfast table. I
became fearful of digestion, the mysterious plumbing system we all
carried inside.

I remember walking into the kitchen while my mother was making
meatballs and she gave me a blob of raw hamburger the side of a large
marble. I poured myself a glass of Welch's grape juice to wash it
down. Two minutes later I vomited the purple mixture right into the
big white porcelain kitchen sink! Most days if I walked in while she
was making breakfast, scrambled eggs, she handed me a blob of cream
cheese. She always put a heaping tablespoon of Philadelphia cream
cheese inside the mixture sometimes she added kidney beans or
spinach. Food was love and food was the love we all craved and chased
after. I would sit in our kitchen pantry on the green vinyl step-
stool and hide. The pantry was slightly larger than a phone booth but
packed like the library stacks, with everything including a few
strange items like tiny cans of turtle soup. It was security to be in

I wear a thin white kitchen apron all the time to cover my
vulnerable gut antennae. I still feel more secure being inside the
pantry. I am vaguely traumatized carrying my supper plate out to the
table in the next room. If I could I would have my kitchen table,
next to the oven and inside the pantry. When I lived on Smith Hill I
had a pantry with glass cupboards. The big enamel sink had a window
above it and while I washed dishes I had a view of a big maple tree.
The golden winter light would light up my rows of mason jars full of
rolled oats beans and corn kernels and decorative teacups. I sat in
there for hours. It was where I met my husband. He came to a party
at my house and we stayed in the pantry talking the whole night.

I am fifty three now, and my journey of food has taken many twists
and turns. I am back in the kitchen residing over the gigantic
Garland stove, in the church basement on my street feeding my
neighbors soup and bread, the universal language.

Inside the theatre of the kitchen, we perform and practice love.

I want my table to be a safe and lively place. In my fantasy painting
of the last supper it is the first supper of many. It is a round
table and seated there are John Lennon Ghandi BBKing Loinel Poilaine
Martin Luther King, Jimi Hendrix, all of the poets and writers and
dancers, all of the people in my city, my ancestors, your ancestors,
maybe the table goes around the earth! Maybe the table has troughs
for the cats and dogs birds goats and antelopes, and of course my
veterinarian and your veterinarian, my dentist, the police chief, the
Mayor, the street sweeper, the maintenance man, the garbage man, the
asphalt pavers, Dolly Parton, Willy Nelson, Willy Lowman, Edgar Allen
Poe, Mozart, Lucille ball. Everyone is invited to my table.

I am a journalist. I write in my journal every day. The magic alchemy
of sleep after waking and walking makes words be. Perhaps I am a
journalist on Jupiter or Saturn. The words come out of my feet while
walking and fly up through my oxygenated lungs behind my eyes and
into my brain. Just like I must take off my shoes while playing my
saxophone. I feel the music of the spheres swirling around us the
way flavors of the soup, must 'land' as the broth cools. Sometimes
the thoughts and scents land in us but they are always swirling by
like a river or the city's plumbing sewers and subways beneath us.
All we do is reach out and open our heart, and hand and look through
the microscope or telescope.

Go Upstairs

The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

"The Song of Wandering Angus" by William Butler Yeats

As a child I wanted to go to the Catholic School,
Saint John and Paul's on my street, only 5 houses away!
They wore uniforms and had a basketball hoop
in the parking lot that I used by myself on Sunday afternoons
when nobody was around.
At 13 I started copying religious paintings into my sketchbook.
My parents laughed at me.
I fell in love with old timey spirituals - "I saw the light."
I became obsessed with ex votos
and collected saint candles.

After decades of being a vegetarian
I started clipping pictures of meat from supermarket circulars.
I finally met a butcher who made it all okay
to bake meatloaf and eat a roast and make home-made sausages.

Now I cook in the church down the street for the soup kitchen,
with my butcher's donated meat.
Perhaps I will start learning the stories of the martyrs
and listen to the bilingual sermons
and gaze at the saints
on the stained glass windows upstairs.

Come Prepared

When we moved up the hill I thought I'd have to change
my cake recipes for altitude.
I was afraid using the blender would disturb the neighbors
or drain our bank account.
When my friend Matthew died I waited for an invitation
to the wake,
not knowing funerals were open
to the public.
I thought I'd be electrocuted fishing toast out of the toaster
even unplugged.
I tried to pay attention in school in case I had to explain
to the Martians
how airplanes fly.

things I would tell to a poem

Poem: "Why do poets write?" by Richard Jones, from The Blessing. © Copper Canyon Press.

Why do poets write?

My wife, a psychiatrist, sleeps
through my reading and writing in bed,
the half-whispered lines,
manuscripts piled between us,

but in the deep part of night
when her beeper sounds
she bolts awake to return the page
of a patient afraid he'll kill himself.

She sits in her robe in the kitchen,
listening to the anguished voice
on the phone. She becomes
the vessel that contains his fear,

someone he can trust to tell
things I would tell to a poem.

Richard Jones Poem


by Richard Jones

It's so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I've done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers' breath.
But instead of resting, I'd smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I'm not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything's fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I'm driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I've got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I'll be home by dawn.

- Richard Jones, from The Correct Spelling and Exact Meaning. © Copper Canyon Press, 2010.

Daniyal Mueenuddin

Pea soup. Dad got a crate at the dollar store. Just the cans are dented.

-Daniyal Mueenuddin


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Anne Lamott

You are going to have to give and give and give, or there's no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.
- Anne Lamott





Sunday Soup Swap


Sunday Soup Swap

Soup n' Bread Swap

Sunday Swap n' Glop

Live music, Live soup!

Jack Munroe

“Last night when I opened my fridge to find some leftover tomato pasta, an onion, and a knob of stem ginger, I gave the pasta to my boy and went to bed hungry with a pot of homemade ginger tea to ease the stomach pains.”

Her son would ask: Why aren’t you eating, Mummy?

“I’m not hungry,” she would reply, praying that he would leave the crust of his toast.

For eight months, she did not tell anyone. There was shame and a residual hope that one of the 300 job applications typed out on her mobile phone would come through. Above all, there was the fear that child services would take away her boy. “He was the reason I was still getting up in the morning,” she said. “A cuddle on the sofa is free, reading a story is free. I didn’t want to lose him.”

WHEN she could no longer afford a haircut, she told her friends that she was growing it out. She kept her apartment tidy, her son’s clothes clean. “You become really good at hiding things,” she said.

It was not until July 30, 2012, when she wrote “Hunger Hurts,” that she officially came out as poor. Her parents dropped off bags of food and clothes, and berated her for not telling them sooner. But with two young adopted children to feed, they could only help so much. That August, Ms. Monroe had a sale, parting with almost everything she had left, raising almost $3,300 to pay off her debts and put down a deposit for a cheaper house share.

“Where is my dinosaur toy?” her son asked when he came back later from a day with his father, who helps look after him.

“Mummy had a tidy-up,” she told him.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Seated Cow Tale

I turned on my mixer and Sammy unaccustomed to the noise took a detour around the teapot and two bovine creamers knocking them to the floor. Luckily only the seated cow's tail-as-handle broke off. I will glue it back on. The standing cow is fine albeit a little stunned.

I Love Woonsocket

Wherever I go around town, people stop me and say, You're the dog lady, I see you everywhere! A few years ago I had to get a background check and fingerprinted to work as a guest the schools. When I went to the police station the detective took my prints and the machine beeped. He said Do you know what that means? It means my prints were a match to a murderers. He was smiling, teasing me because he recognized me. It's a very cute town. A doll-house city with real world problems. I love Woonsocket.

Corner Market

I love to go into the new Dominican bodega because the family is lovely and it is clean and packed to the gills with great stuff. Yesterday I spotted a row of the cute little stovetop espresso pots, an assortment of dried chilies, and goat milk caramel lollipops. The family doesn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish but I know a little French. But we all smile and manage fine. The market has flashing lit up neon red and yellow OPEN sign and a blue and green ATM sign in their window. They recently hung colorful banners on the outside of the building "We take Master Card and Visa", "We Accept EBT". Last night while having soup at the table I could see the colorful store lights flashing through our brown bare shrubs. I said "Look Bill, it's our little piece of Times Square."


by Samuel Hazo

What purpose have they but to rub
skin dry by being drawn behind
the back two-handed down
the showered spine or fluffed
between the thighs and elsewhere?
Yardgoods lack what towels
proffer in sheer, plump tuft.
Wadded after use and flung
in hampers to be washed, they clump
like the tired laundry of men
who sweat for a living.
Spun dry
or spreadeagled to the sun,
they teach us what renewal means.
Touch them when they're stacked or racked,
and what you're touching is abundance
in waiting.
Imprinted with the names
of Hilton or the Ritz, they daub
with equal deft the brows
of bandits or the breasts of queens.
What else did Pilate reach for
when he washed his hands of Christ
before the multitudes?
when retired to the afterlife of rags,
they still can buff the grills
of Chryslers, Fallingwater's windows
or important shoes.
small, it seems they have
their part to play.
But then,
en route from use to uselessness,
it's no small asset ever
to be always good at something.

- by Samuel Hazo from The Song of the Horse. © Autumn House Press, 2008

Ruth Reichl

My idea of good living is not about eating high on the hog. Rather, to me good living means understanding how food connects us to the earth.

- Ruth Reichl

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goat Milk Lollipop

I just had my first goat milk caramel lollipop. Spectacular! And only 25 cents, at the new Dominican Market, across the street. The sweet is called cajeta, pronounced "kahHAYtah".

The Power of Soup

The Power of Soup by Julie Kendrick - Minneapolis, Minnesota
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, November 22, 2013

Julie Kendrick believes in making soup. But not just because it's nourishing to body and soul during Minnesota winters. She also believes that making—and sharing—soup with friends builds connections within her community.

I believe in the masterpieces that everyday people can create, when they’re given a chance. I believe in sharing nourishment with my friends. I believe in warm, tasty liquids on a freezing cold day. I believe in the power of soup.

I started hosting soup swaps four years ago, after reading about Knox Gardner, a Seattle resident who loved to cook big pots of soup but who quickly tired of his own cooking. He had an idea to bring friends together for an evening to talk about, and swap, containers of their favorite soups. His hope was not only to fill his freezer with tasty meals, but, as he said, “foster a community of friends and families to create traditions around food and sharing.”

I held my first soup swap shortly after I read that article, and I’ve never looked back. I host two swaps a year, one in spring and one in fall, although I had a friend tell me recently that she thought I held them every month. That would just be crazy, but it shows what an impact the swaps have had. The concept is simple: arrive with six containers of frozen soup, tell the group about your creation, pick a number, and then take turns selecting new soups to take home and enjoy.

In Minnesota, where I live, the winters are cold and long, and the prospect of brand-new soup, maybe a kind I’ve never tried before, or one from a friend who’s a great cook, can liven up many dreary weeknight suppers and Saturday afternoon lunches. But it’s more than that, of course—it’s the friendships and bonds that are formed when we share the stories of our precious creations with each other. Like the woman who told us that she was the only grandkid who ever cooked with Grandma, and how now all her siblings want to come over to her house for bowls of Grandma’s Famous Vegetable Soup. Or the newlywed who swapped Artichoke Bisque, the same kind of soup that she and her boyfriend were eating when he proposed. Or the friend who told of her transformative vacation at a Colorado dude ranch, and how she’d convinced the chef to share the recipe for Roasted Poblano and Squash Soup to help her remember that time.

There are chances to give back, too. One year, I had a friend who had just started chemotherapy treatment, so I asked guests to bring along an extra container. Their generosity allowed me to deliver twenty quarts of soup to my ailing friend and her family.

Soup is slow. You just cannot rush soup. Soup is nourishing. Even when some of the ingredients are slightly decadent, it’s nourishing for all the parts of you, not just the waistline. And, perhaps most importantly for the place where I live, soup is warm. When I open my freezer and heat up a friend’s recipe, I think of her and I connect with her. All over one bowl of soup.

Julie Kendrick is a writer who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has the coldest average temperature of any major metropolitan area in the U.S. (about eleven below zero in January). She survives the winter by writing (sometimes with gloves on), dreaming of spring, and, of course, preparing many batches of soup.

Full Moon Dream that woke me up at 3:15

I was driving a little Volkswagen beetle on a sandy path in a beach community, I was being followed by an angry and curious driver. I came to a small wooden staircase blocking the path. I got out and carried the car over the stairs and jumped back in and kept driving. I did this a few times, each time I got out and carried my VW bug over a small set of wooden stairs and jumped back in and kept driving. I arrived at a communal living spot. The veranda had tall ceilings with archways, and rugs on a tiled floor. One huge round rug had fifty-two pairs of shoes! I noticed pointy-toed black leather fashion boots and heels amongst them. I knew who they belonged to. I was still racing to get away. I was on the sandy path at an intersection in Tiverton complaining about illustration to my friend. He got bored and drove off in a vintage gold-colored El Dorado with a rumbling muffler. Apparently a strip mall was being planned at this intersection and everyone was upset about it. I tried on a men's gold corduroy jacket at a thrift store. It had a hole near the cuff. I noticed a checkbook and money in the breast pocket. I hurried to buy it but couldn't find my wallet. I woke up searching for my little "Change comes from within" purse.

Woonsocket on It

Cheers to Wednesday, mid-week mid-month January thaw and full moon!

Woonsocket is such a cool name I have for decades imagined a local company called "Woonsocket on it" that would sell items with the name.

Also, in my crazy fantasy I would love to see a custom made pizzelle maker with our City seal imprinted as the cookie pattern. It could be used for local fundraising events and the cookies sold in town.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Young Bread

After months of making no knead 48 hour slow cold rise sourdough, it is a real treat to knead and bake a bread in one day. It is delicious and it's a whole different taste!

Laurie Colwin

Cookbooks hit you where you live. You want comfort; you want security; you want food; you want to not be hungry; and not only do you want those basic things fixed, you want it done in a really nice, gentle way that makes you feel loved.
- Laurie Colwin

City of Sleeping Windows

I love drinking black coffee while standing in the dark backyard at 4 AM with my dog Lily, hoping there aren't any skunks! I stood out there this morning admiring the city of sleeping windows.

The Soup Mobile Mission

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one!

- Mother Teresa

The SoupMobile was founded in 2003 by David Timothy, a.k.a. The SoupMan, on a wing and a lot of prayers. The SoupMobile is different from traditional soup kitchens in that we are ‘mobile’ and take the food to areas where the homeless congregate. We are literally on the front lines of the war against hunger in Dallas, Texas.

More important than the actual food we serve is the reason we do it. 2,000 years ago Jesus said ‘Feed MY Sheep.’ We believe he meant more than just food. He also meant love, caring, and compassion. Yes, the food feeds their bodies, but the love of Jesus feeds their souls.

The SoupMobile serves an incredible 200,000 meals per year. Each of our hot, nutritious, and tasty meals is served with one special magic ingredient---LOVE!!!


the alarm goes off at 4AM for my husband to prepare
for teaching school
our schedule is what I call monk's hours
it's like having permanent jet lag
today I woke at 3:45 dreaming of two tarantulas
in a glass tank on top of a white fridge
the glass broke
and they got out
loose tarantulas!!
black coffee at 4:15

Friday, January 10, 2014

Miracle Soup

Today was my first day of my cooking class called Miracle Soup. I worked with a woman who knows the kitchen well and she showed me where to find everything. We had fun. She was making five trays of pasta with a hamburger tomato sauce for a meat raffle dinner tonight. The sweet maintenance man replaced the burned out light bulbs over the stove so we could see. Then he helped lift the huge colander of cooked pasta. I made a garlic onion soup with a tomato beef broth. It was delicious and I shared it with everyone in the kitchen.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Barbara Crooker

My grandparents coming from Italy in steerage
measured their gold in olive oil, not bank notes
and deeds.
-Barbara Crooker from her poem Monopoly 1955

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blackeyed Peas

Today I am simmering blackeyed peas to honor New Years Day. I love them because they taste like dirt.

Hoppin' John is a peas and rice dish served in the Southern United States. It is made with black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock, fatback, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere.

In the southern United States, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.


Lazy Tomato Sauce

Lately I have been simmering my simple home made tomato sauce mostly because I am feeling lazy and not in the super sensory food mood. Lazy tomato sauce is this: 4 cans of crushed tomatoes, six of Jamie's hot Italian sausages, four ribs of celery chopped, three onions chopped. Simmer in slow cooker for a few hours while your house fills with the gorgeous aroma. I like to break the sausages into meatball-sized pieces after they have cooked. When you are ready for supper, boil your favorite macaroni. Ladle the red sauce over the hot noodles. Enjoy sprinkled with grated parmesan or romano cheese.