Yesterday, I spoke very highly of the merits of making your own vegetable stock. And while I maintain that it’s a great thing to have on hand all the time, I’ll admit that I made this latest batch with a specific purpose in mind: carrot ginger soup. Here in Delaware, as in most of the country, we’ve had quite a cold snap lately. It’s been miserable; I hate the cold weather. But I knew this soup would help to warm me up!
I’m a menu planner. Every week, when the grocery circular comes in the mail, I’ll sit down with it, my coupons, the weather forecast, and our calendars, and figure out what we’re having each night for the upcoming week. What started as a necessity when I was in grad school (free time for food shopping was at a premium; if I wanted to eat, I needed a plan), has become a comfortable habit. I know some people find this ridiculous and tedious: “How am I supposed to know what I’ll want to eat next Tuesday?” I’ve been asked. But I like knowing. It eliminates the 6:30 hangry and frustrated raid through my fridge. And, it informs my other meal choices (for instance, if I’m making risotto for dinner, I won’t have oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve been told this is weird, but to me risotto and oatmeal are, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, gastronomically redundant).
Last night, as happens most nights, my husband called me on his way home from work. And, as happens most nights, he asked what was for dinner. “Tuscan bean soup!” I responded. I then followed up quickly, “And salad. And garlic bread.” Because as much as a steaming bowl of soup filled with beans and tomatoes sounds like a fantastic dinner to me, I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about how this meal would go over. I’ve mentioned before that my husband hasn’t always been the most adventurous eater. But if he’s living with me, some nights he is just going to get vegan deliciousness.
I don’t know about where you are, but fall is definitely setting in here in Delaware. It rained all day yesterday and the temperatures didn’t get out of the 60s. I had to wear jeans, and sleeves, and closed toe shoes. Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate autumn. I’m not immune to pumpkin-spice obsessions, and fresh picked apples, and candy corn. My closet is over flowing with cute ballet flats. Few things beat sitting in the stands at a football game with a cup of watery stadium hot chocolate. But after fall comes winter. And winter sucks.
I was one of those weird kids. I had parties with my imaginary friend. I did my sister’s homework so we could play sooner. (She was in kindergarten and had to do a worksheet on the letter “F.” We both got in trouble, then I gave her the further punishment of doing extra homework till it was good enough to pass for my work. The really sad part was she did it.) I stayed up nights as an 8-year-old worrying about getting into college.
But, perhaps weirdest of all, I ate everything. I would go out to the garden, pick a tomato, and eat it like an apple. As a 6-year-old, I ordered a lobster, cleaned it, and polished it off as the waitstaff watched on in awe. I liked green beans, and broccoli, and zucchini. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize this isn’t the norm. Pop culture and kids’ menus tell us that kids should be eating chicken nuggets and pasta with butter. Maybe, just maybe, you can sneak in applesauce as a side instead of french fries. Even Jessica Seinfeld, who touts the importance of healthy eating, does so by tricking children. But I digress.