Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Letter from Home…

January 15, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( My resolution for this New Year is to make more soup. I’m not talking about opening a can of the store-bought stuff, but preparing a pot of deliciousness that simmers on the back burner filling the house with delightful aromas.

When it comes to satisfying hunger, lifting the spirit and filling the heart, there are few things better than a bowl of warm soup.

Each New Year begins with a burst of optimism and hope. The ball drops and we resolve to make changes in our lives –to do things differently “this” year by altering some behavior.

Such ambitions are made with the best of intentions and occasionally result in some success. More often than not a few months into the year our optimism begins to peter out. We will have broken every promise, resumed most-if not all-of our bad habits. We get tired. Folks have gotten on our last good nerve and we need a break.

It may be that we reach too far with our resolutions; having never run before we determine to run a marathon rather than a few miles. Moreover we tend to frame our resolutions in the negative.

Rather than promising to do more of what we like – what makes us feel good — we undertake to do more of what we clearly don’t like – exercise for instance. Of course taking smaller bites does not automatically lead to bigger success.

Last year for instance I began the year by putting together a 3-month plan in hopes that biting off smaller chunks would lead to more satisfying results. Of course I completed everything on my list in about 6 weeks and used the balance of the time to contemplate the next 3 month plan. I am still contemplating. It isn’t that I accomplished nothing last year. I was focused and motivated those first few weeks and no doubt some of that attitude carried over into the later months. But as far as big resolutions go last year was very much like every other year – big plans, small outcome.

Never one to be daunted by failure, this year I have determined to make soup. I am not going to diet, I like food too much. I will not stop watching television. TV is my drug of choice and I am hooked. I have 3 active and very energetic boys so invariably I will end up raising my voice. I may very well complete my next book this year, but as they say at the ball park, “it doesn’t look good for the home team.” No, this year I am going to focus on doing one thing and that thing reasonable. Soup is the ticket.

I enjoy cooking and I enjoy making soups and stews. I prepare most of the family meals already this is just a matter of menu selection. Besides, making soup is easy; vegetables, bones and herbs simmered into a tasty broth, to which is added meat, vegetables, beans or pasta in any number of interesting and delicious combinations. Soup – even fancy soup—is rustic, simple and a staple of good home cooking, which is another way of saying, “filled with love, just like Mama used to make.”

Soup is making ends meet. Soup is wrapping up in a warm blanket when your nose is stuffed up. Soup is Mama wrapping you in her arms and wiping away a tear when your heart is broken. Soup is a friendly voice over the phone on a lonely Saturday night. Soup is a letter from home.

It has been my unfortunate habit that the resolutions I make at the start of each New Year consistently reassemble the vows I have made the year before – grand, well-intentioned and ultimately unsustainable. This year will be different because I am promising only to do more of what I already do and what already makes me happy. The best part is that if I do it well I will fill my family’s bellies and their hearts.

Written By Joseph C. Phillips

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