Sometimes, making soup is magic, alchemy, really. There is the gathering and the measuring of the appropriate materials, and the guiding them through change states via the addition of liquid, heat, time. The results can be gustatory gold-even golden, if I've made chicken soup. With biscuits warm from the oven, or a loaf of homemade bread, we have a meal that is the New Jersey winter version of ambrosia.
Then, there are times when I catch myself slipping into that American, post industrial, market economy mindset. I find that I am wondering why I spend my time doing something so "unimportant" when I could be out participating in society. In other words, making money and then spending it (and a whole lot more besides, most likely) before it gets comfortable in my wallet. It is hard to not get swallowed by the cultural zeitgeist, to not throw up my hands in surrender and just open a can or two or live off of take out foods.
If I did that-there would be no pots to wash, no stove to clean, no invisible-unless-it-isn't-done drudgery. But there would also be no wonderful smells permeating the house, no sense of satisfaction at sitting down to eat, no "oohs" of appreciation from family members, no left-overs. And we would probably all be fatter and poorer.
There are other issues, of course. There is the need for human interaction, the need for intellectual stimulation, friendship, conversation. The era of housewives (how I hate that word; I didn't marry a house, I married a man) having coffee together or chatting over the back fence is gone. In any case, there was never any guarantee that you would find a neighbor whose interests paralleled yours. Email and instant messaging, although useful, is no where near as satisfying as face to face contact-especially if one doesn't work, sitting at a computer.
Today, I am making soup. The aromatics are simmering in the pot, part way to their dissolving and the transformation into a brown gold broth. Later, the rest of the ingredients will go in. Overnight, it will rest, while the flavors meld.
Tomorrow, I will participate in modern American society. I will get up far too early for my body clock. I will put on business clothes and go to my pre-breakfast networking meeting. I will make, and attend business appointments. And tomorrow evening, I will make a batch of biscuits, and while they are baking, I will gently heat up the soup, and we will dine.
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