Tuesday, December 21, 2010

an awakening over soup

something happened last night.

between slipping off my high heels and slipping on my pajamas, a change washed over me. perhaps not a change, but more of an awakening. of something often latent inside my spirit.

i felt feminine. not just girly, but overwhelmingly, achingly feminine.  through deadlines, paperwork and meetings, it can be easy to slip into an androgynous zone, where i lose touch of what drives me curl my hair in the morning and paint my toenails in the wintertime.

it happened in the kitchen. with night settling into the bones of our house, floorboards creaking under my slippered feet. robert was watching television with pablo sprawled across his lap. 

and i was making soup. standing over a boiling pot, letting the rising steam pour its sweet breath over my eyelids. not thinking about work, or that evening's plans or what to make for dessert. that was when it first crept up on me. that womanly notion. and it wasn't just because i was making dinner for my family. it was actually quite the opposite--i was only thinking of myself for a little bit.

it happened because i felt like my mama. and standing over that burner, i felt like my grandma too. this isn't to say that a woman can only be feminine standing over a stove. oh it's far, far deeper than that. nor do i think you have to be obviously feminine to be a whole, complete, beautiful woman. rather, it's about claiming the right to be happy in the kitchen, in that silent, sacred space. it's actually a rather forward-thinking idea, to take back that room as ours, rather than just a vessel through which to please. i felt feminine because i was taking time to feel the woman in me. to sit for a second and wait for the water to boil.

that soup was making me happy in that moment, and fine and dandy if the rest of my family wanted some as well. but this wasn't about them. because i can't be the kind of wife, daughter and doggie mama i want to be unless i take time to indulge myself occasionally. for me tonight, this meant standing over soup and letting my worries evaporate to the ceiling.

so i'll share the recipe with you, along with some pictures from my evening, in hopes that this soup will be for you whatever you need it to be.

lentil soup

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs (i left these out)
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  

    Add the tomatoes with their juices.

      Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. 

      Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. *tip: if you leave a wooden spoon in your pot, it won't over-boil.

      Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.
      Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

        Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
      so try it. indulge in what makes you feel like you, feminine or not. whether it's making soup, writing, or fly fishing. because if it's special enough to make you happy,
      it's special indeed.


      Thisisme said...

      I love, love, love your writing!! (I know I've said it before, but it doesn't hurt to repeat it). I shall certainly be trying your soup, and think this feminine thing is wonderful, thinking about your grandma, then your mum, and now you! I also loved your comment about taking the room back for us, and not just to use it as a vessel to please others! Lovely post.

      Peaches said...

      Finding your inner femininity can be a challenge but I'm glad you are feeling yours lately. I've always been a girly girl but I'm feeling it more lately...especially now that I've started curling my hair. It makes me feel special and how I've always wanted to feel about myself.

      Oh and I cannot wait to try the soup. It sounds delicious and perfect for winter.

      Love & Hugs my friend!

      Casey said...

      I agree with Thisisme, your writing is really spectacular. You just have such a way with words. If you ever write a book I am going to bother you for an autographed copy.

      Thanks for the lovely recipe, AND for reminding me to embrace my femininity.

      Have a great Tuesday!


      ~k said...

      I really like this part that you wrote..."letting my worries evaporate to the ceiling." I've never had lentil soup, it looks tasty!

      jeanette from everton terrace said...

      I know exactly what you mean. There are times when I wish someone would cook for me because my husband will do anything, clean the toilets, laundry - whatever, but he doesn't like to be in the kitchen except to do the dishes and that's okay with me. I like having that space as my own. Jotting down your recipe also.

      Jess said...

      MMM The soup looks yummy! I'm still working on my femininity.... When you are in your 20's you struggle between "college kid" and "grown-up" :)

      PS I checked out your Etsy shop... VERY CUTE!

      Thanks for stopping by :)

      In My Tennis Shoes said...

      so glad you stopped in! thanks so much for your lovely comment. yes, i try to let my light shine for Jeses! so glad to have found your blog! i love your writing and will be back! i'm off to by some last min gifts!!

      In My Tennis Shoes said...

      uhhh... *Jesus* i meant... i don't know a Jeses! lol!

      Valerie said...

      beautiful post! i would love to feel more like my grandmother and mother everyday (and i hope i'm turning into them!), and i love the idea of following a line of femininity, being passed down. thank you for this! (and the recipe...mmmmm!)

      Jude said...

      I so am seriously in love with soup and this was a wonderful post to go along with a wonderful recipe! I love that soup has that power to awaken all kinds of things in us: thoughts, epiphanies and sensations - so glad you posted this...thank you!

      lindsay said...

      this soup looks amazing ♥ lentil soup is one of my favorites :) so tasty!

      i love this post...your words are so beautiful. it's interesting how certain events can create such emotion!


      the friendliest flower said...

      i really cant get enough of your blog, its so good! that soup sounds delicious im going to have to try it, do you think i could sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock? im a vegetarian.

      vintch said...

      @the friendliest flower: absolutely! vegetable stock would be fabulous in this soup, as it's already laden with tons of veggies! i'm honestly not too sure about the salt content difference between chicken vs. vegetable stock. the chicken broth in here adds all the salt you need, but you might want to add a pinch or so more if using vegetable stock:)

      Ann Nichols said...

      Oh my...I absolutely know what you mean - I often have those feelings while preparing meals in the kitchen (and I'm not really a kitchen sort of lady!). I felt it the other day while decorating our home for Christmas too. You know, I've published numerous books, and done a lot of other things too, but the thing for which I am most proud is that I am a "home-maker!" I have had the privilege of turning this house of ours into a home!
      many blessings for a lovely Christmas!
      PS Am so happy to be following along! Please join me at my history blog - I'd love to have such a kindred spirit along!

      Nicole said...

      Inspiring, as ALWAYS, dear! :]

      threesmallapples said...

      amazing!!! xx

      MADMommy said...

      I will be giving it a try thanks!

      Diana Mieczan said...

      Hi:) I hope you got my email:) You are the winner of my scarf giveaway! Could you please send me your mailing details on diana212m@yahoo.com
      Thanks so much, my dear

      {av} said...

      you're probably getting tired of me saying this, but WOW. incredible words--and what inspiration for me today! thanks for your sweet words on my nyc trip! xoxo {av}

      Cara-Mia said...

      Like everyone else, I'm in love with your words. So lovely. Also, this recipe sounds so good! I will have to try it. :D

      Chelsea Talks Smack said...

      Oh EM GEE. Looks delish, I'm hungry now!

      Ashley said...

      Your stories are so enchanting. I love that such a wonderful feminine feeling swept over you...I enjoy my quiet times in the kitchen, as well. Can't wait to try your recipe! :)

      Ana* said...

      that looks tasty. Soups are the best, specially during the winter time. i had one for lunch today and it awakened my cold spirit. Thank you so much for your sweet words on my last post, have a great Tuesday!!

      Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

      I love lentil soup- heels also make me feel feminine!

      Bridget said...

      beautiful post!

      Haley K said...

      thank you so much for this post. I absolutely loved it...read it twice actually :) So beautifully said. We're lucky to be women. And lucky to have those sweet, genuine moments of femininity.

      And thank you so much for the tasty oreo recipe! I'm going to make it for a holiday part!...but use the candy cane oreos to give it a festive twist :)

      Amy said...

      What a beautiful feeling. And from soup, ah, I love it. Right now, I'm sitting here on my couch in my pajamas, alone, writing away about love (my most current post) feeling very Carrie Bradshaw-esque and that struck me as feminine. Totally relating right now in that deep breath, smile, you're a woman feeling.
      Love to you and yours darling on this holiday! And keep making soup ;) Sounds lovely!

      Kimbirdy said...

      you have such a beautiful spirit and a wonderful way with words. i actually have felt what you described recently, but hadn't found the words to express it. those feelings are so amazing though - to feel so fulfilled and inspired at the same time. magical!

      Marisa Midori said...

      Making (and eating) soup is one of my favourite things about winter. I'll have to try this one soon!

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