Soup it up!
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
January 16, 2021
When the weather turns cold, soup calls my name! Vegetable soup, chicken noodle, tomato and split pea. Soup is like a warm cozy friend, wrapping itself around and warming the insides like a blanket, soothing with both its comfort to the body and the memories it brings of cold days from the past.
My mother used to surprise me with a thermos full of soup instead of milk on the rainy days of February. Her gesture warmed my soul and I felt so special and greatly loved. The simple yet long lasting memory is rekindled in each winter rain.
Marcia Brown created a lasting memory as well, when she re-told the European folk story of “Stone Soup” in 1947. Year after year classes of young students reenact the story of soldiers enticing a community of villagers to add their bounty of veggies and meats to the one lone stone sitting in a great big pot of water in the town square. When the soup is finished, it is then shared with everyone. Now, while children are still having school at home, consider finding a smooth round stone of your own and inviting your family to join in the making of some nice warm stone soup. Depending on what is chosen, it can be quite tasty. And maybe you would like to add some bread to eat with that soup.
In the classic tale of “The Little Red Hen” the red hen bustles about preparing to bake. She asks her friends to help her harvest the wheat, help with the grinding, the mixing and rising and baking of the bread. But all her friends want to do is eat the bread after she did all the work herself. This is a good lesson as families are still home together, that everyone pitching in has its rewards, both inward and outward. Bake some bread together with that stone soup!
If you really want to go crazy, give “Bug Soup” by Vince Clayhouse a try. No, Mrs. Hoop does not make soup out of bugs for human consumption. But she does go about feeding animals in the zoo and readers can guess which meal goes to various animals waiting for their dinner. This story is also a good example about taking care of the family pets as well as branching out in nature. Maybe by starting a winter bird feeder in the yard, add a salt lick for deer or drop off lettuce for the ducks at the lake. (Lettuce not bread, as it is more natural and nutritious for them.) And, of course, just enjoy the fun of thinking about crazy bugs in soup.
Can you get a good laugh from soup? Well you can if “Soup” is about a boy written by Robert Newton Peck. In a series of over a dozen books taking place in the 1930s, Peck follows the antics of two boys, Robert and his friend Luther also known by the nickname Soup, growing up in small town Vermont. Just as “Little Women” opens up a look into life after the Civil War, “Soup” gives a view of life in the early 20th century and highlights the antics of two boys who can make you laugh out loud. And as we know, laughter is the best medicine. It is also good to share how life used to be to the children in our lives today. We can learn much from the past, though hopefully they won’t get ideas to prank us!
Did you know that the first of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series came out in 1993? The book was filled with inspirational true stories from everyday people’s lives. They shared about their loves and losses, the birth of babies and antics about beloved pets. They shared not just the big events of their lives, but the small ones that sometimes become even more important. And when reading about such personal stories of others, we have a chance to begin to walk in their footsteps and feel their joys and pains, and not just our own. That is life changing. As of 2020, over 250 titles have been published, with topics that branch out to reach more segments of society, from seniors to children and teens, pets and actual soups! Yes, they have a soup and sauce line under the same name as the books. Lots of chicken soup and more for the body and soul.
I think it is obvious that soup can be very important in our lives, from sustenance of the body to sustenance of the soul. Take time to be aware of others, laugh more and make some soup this week, from a can or from scratch with a favorite family recipe. Or have some fun with a recipe found online provided by a celebrity chef. Laughter and sharing is a must. Bugs and stones are optional.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.