2010.01.06 My soup is your soup

Written by David Green.

My soup is your soup


I hate to admit it, but David is usually right—about everything. For example, when I continued to look for a full-time job while pregnant with Ben, David proposed that I be a stay-at-home mom. 

The idea that I not work, not pull my weight, was totally foreign to me. My mother had worked as far back as I could remember and I just figured I would, too. 

Luckily for me, the economy in Michigan in 1982 was about as thriving as it is now, and I never did find a job. It didn’t take me too many minutes after Ben was born to know that David had been right all along.

I have to give him major credit and many kudos for his innate wisdom and support of my stay-at-home years. But I must balance that praise with this assertion: the man is wacko when it comes to soup.

On New Year’s Eve, David mentioned that he wanted to make soup the next day.

“Me too, I said, “I’ve been wanting to make lentil soup.”

Really, I wanted to make a lentil dish we’d once been served at the Pillows’ house back when they were practicing vegetarians.

But we didn’t have any spinach and I didn’t anticipate running out to the store on New Year’s Day, so I envisaged the next best thing...lentil soup with chopped tomatoes.

I get easily distracted and would have passed on making soup altogether, but David threatened me. 

“Let me know if you aren’t going to make it because I will,” he said.

That was more than an idle threat. David’s soups are odd, often bland, affairs. I can handle them, but Ben and Sarah would be returning home from Up North before their trip back to Miami. I thought it might be good to have on hand soup fit for general consumption. 

But there were no canned tomatoes in the cupboard. I was losing interest in the soup, but I opened the bottom cupboard and started passing onions up to the countertop and soon David started peeling them. I figured I’d get out the carrots and peel them and he could take over from there.

Just about the time I declared I didn’t want potatoes in the soup, I could see this was leaning more toward my soup. I scrounged around in the fridge for the celery and started measuring lentils into another pan to which I also added a cup of brown rice.

”I’m doing this in deference to you,” I said, referring to the rice, as he added oil to the soup pot.

“Don’t do it for me,” he said. “It’s your soup.”

“Where’s the red chili?” he asked.

“You mean the chili powder or the red peppers?”

“I don’t care. Tell me where they both are and then I’ll know.”

“How can you put chili powder in there and tell me it’s my soup?” I asked.

He didn’t respond, but a few minutes later, he showed me his yellowish orange fingers.

“Ew, turmeric? Or carrot. Must be carrot,” I concluded with relief, as I eyed him chopping the four huge carrots I’d just peeled.

But then I looked in the soup pot and the bright yellow onions gave it away. Turmeric in soup?

He read something somewhere about the health benefits of turmeric and now puts it in everything—even his morning oatmeal. I am not so open-minded when it comes to spices; it grosses me out every time I see him put turmeric where it doesn’t belong.

At every turn, when I asked a question about putting in this or that, he’d amiably say, “Do what you want. It’s your soup.” But that didn’t stop him from secretly slipping in sesame oil or the dreaded turmeric.

“Would it make you cry if I put the turkey water in?” I meant turkey broth...leftover turkey broth frozen after Thanksgiving.

“Cry?” he asked, bemused that anything regarding soup should make him cry.

“Cringe?” I asked, substituting a more accurate word. 

“Do what you want to do.“ he said. “It’s your soup!”

Maddie arrived home just at the end of the soup making with a McDonald’s bag in hand.

“McDonald’s? That’s no way to start the new year,” I said.

“What smells in here?” she asked. “I got apple slices,” she said in response to my judgmental McDonald’s comment.

“Soup,” I said, gesturing to the pot. “That’s the way to start the new year.”

Maddie didn’t look convinced.

“You want some lentils and rice separate?” I asked as I started pouring the cooked lentil-rice mixture into the soup pot.

“No,” she said with a look of disgust.

“You want soup!” I concluded brightly, as if that option was the only alternative.

“Ew, no!” she said, looking into the pot.

Hmm, maybe I’m no better than David at making soup.

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