Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Quiet and Solemn Kind of Day

We all remember where we were 18 years ago, today. The anniversary of 9/11 just sort places today into the solemn category for me. I've just been puttering and taking care of business. I'm in the middle of making a batch of yogurt. I've completed my business work for the day. And I made another pair of earrings. Making these pieces of jewelry is therapeutic for me. It's productive and creative, while taking my mind off of serious subjects and completely enveloping me in the process for those few moments. Here's today's pair.


I also wanted to share with you my all-time favorite fall soup -- Cabbage Patch Soup. Many years ago when my son was a small boy, we were homeschooling. This was years before I had access to the internet or had even thought that someday I'd be able to shop via my computer. My experience with computers was from conducting morning business in the department store where I was a floor manager. There was this bulky machine that spit out reams of paper with numbers and symbols -- pages and pages of attached papers (remember when printers used paper that you had to tear along perforations?) that I would scan for my departments' sales information for the previous day. There were even larger machines at the flagship store, which spit out information concerning the entire chain of stores. I toured the computer room in this flagship store on one occasion and was duly impressed with the size of these machines, the noise in the room, and how warm the room was, despite the excess of cooling equipment in operation at all times. 

So, a few years later, married with one child, the thought of ever using a computer in my own home was something unthinkable for me. We did almost all of our shopping in-person, and many stores didn't accept credit cards but operated on a cash or check only basis. Homeschooling was relatively new. Finding curriculum required finding a specialist in what was available, followed up with searching for the way to buy the books we required. I couldn't very well order books from a catalog without first thumbing through a few of them, right? After a couple of months of asking around, I finally asked the librarian and she put me in touch with some local homeschooling families and a store in western Washington that sold full curriculums. The homeschool book store was an hour's drive north of us, so the three of us made this a Saturday adventure, perusing books, choosing our year's materials, and making our purchase. (You're wondering what this has to do with a favorite fall soup, right? I'm getting there.) 

After a couple of hours, one tired little boy desperately needed lunch. As it happened, right next door to the bookstore was a small cafe. They had posted their menu with prices on the glass entrance door. It was indeed a lucky day for us, because after spending what seemed like a small fortune on school materials, the cafe's prices were incredibly reasonable -- the 3 of us could eat lunch and dessert for under $5, including tax and a tip. The soup that we ordered that first time was their Cabbage Patch Soup. It was a tomato-based soup with onions, celery, canned tomatoes, carrots, ground beef, and lots of shredded cabbage.


Once home, I replicated that soup over and over. I came up with many variations, mostly changing up the protein source based on what we had on hand. In addition to making this soup with ground beef, I've also used sliced smoked sausage, beans/lentils and barley, and TVP (textured vegetable protein). As I mentioned last week, I got an amazing deal on cabbage recently. So, this week I made a large pot of cabbage patch soup, this time using a combination of cooked pinto beans, lentils, and barley as the protein, in addition to the onions, carrots, canned tomato paste (I sometimes use canned, chopped tomatoes), and abundance of shredded cabbage. I seasoned the soup with oregano, garlic, chili powder, salt, and black pepper, and I used chicken stock as the base. This is one of those soups where the leftovers are every bit as delicious as when it was first made. So, we've had this twice for dinners, and twice for lunches. Not only is it tasty, but this is a very frugal autumn soup. Even if I couldn't get cabbage at 18 cents/lb, I can find it at Sprouts for 49 cents/lb, and carrots and onions are also inexpensive vegetables. I did without the celery as celery prices have been high this past year, but we didn't notice a loss in flavor. With a protein source of beans and barley, this is a complete meal. I add a garnish of cheese when I have some.

For several years, we made the annual trek north to the homeschool store and would have lunch immediately afterward at this local cafe. Soup and pie were our favorites there. When Cabbage Patch Soup was on the menu, we always ordered it. My daughters were not around to experience this little cafe first-hand, but they've enjoyed this soup from my own kitchen every fall and heard the stories of life before they entered the picture. 

in a nostalgic mood . . .

6 comments:

live and learn said...

Yesterday was a solemn day for many people, not just in the US but around the world. Remembering your life at a simpler time seems natural as we long for who we were before the events of 9/11.

And I remember printer paper with the perforations along the side that was wider than the regular 8.5" x 11". Occasionally, I still open an old box with things wrapped in it.

Kris said...

Your soup sounds delicious--I love soups! I also have found that the taste improves with time--in fact, my daughter "insists" on waiting a day to eat pea soup so the flavors have more time to meld. :) Cabbage Patch soup sounds like a winner--can I come for dinner, too? :)

Alice said...

Yes, I remember exactly where I was on 9/11.

Your soup sounds amazing and I can't wait to get home and make a variation of this. We're still in the hospital and might go home next week.

I actually owned a printer with the holes on the edges. It was a dot matrix printer I think. Oh, pea soup sounds so good right now.

Alice

Lili said...

live and learn said...
Yesterday was a solemn day for many people, not just in the US but around the world. Remembering your life at a simpler time seems natural as we long for who we were before the events of 9/11.

And I remember printer paper with the perforations along the side that was wider than the regular 8.5" x 11". Occasionally, I still open an old box with things wrapped in it.


Hi live and learn,
what a fun surprise to find, the items wrapped in old printer paper. I think we still have a stack of that paper in storage.

I hope you had a lovely day.

Lili said...

Kris said...
Your soup sounds delicious--I love soups! I also have found that the taste improves with time--in fact, my daughter "insists" on waiting a day to eat pea soup so the flavors have more time to meld. :) Cabbage Patch soup sounds like a winner--can I come for dinner, too? :)


I made such a large pot of the soup, I think I could have hosted the whole gang for Cabbage Patch soup! Your daughter has the right idea. Pea soup is most delicious the next day!

Lili said...

Alice said...
Yes, I remember exactly where I was on 9/11.

Your soup sounds amazing and I can't wait to get home and make a variation of this. We're still in the hospital and might go home next week.

I actually owned a printer with the holes on the edges. It was a dot matrix printer I think. Oh, pea soup sounds so good right now.


Hi Alice,
I've been thinking about you and keeping you and your husband in my prayers. I will pray for the two of you to return home as quickly as possible. I can imagine that you are very exhausted. I wish that there was something I could do for you.

We had one of those printers, too. And I think we still have it in storage. It got the job done and that's what mattered.

Take good care of yourself. I'll be praying for you both.