“Soup is a mainstay of civilization.
It is a creative synthesis of flavors and textures,
served in a comforting, back to childhood style,
or as a precise and perfectly elegant beginning
to the shape of things to come.”
~ Liz Smith
On this very first Poetry Friday of 2008, I toast you with soup!
It’s time to make an elegant beginning to a new month, a new year.
Here’s what I’ve been stirring around in my kettle:
Several picture book manuscripts
An early chapter book
An easy reader series
A WIP about a quacky sous chef
A WIP called “Kimchee Girl”
You can see I’ve got some bugs in my soup.
Need to get rid of those, and add a fresh batch of these:
How I love these 26 guys! I also worship them, marvel at them, and can’t stop thanking them. Because of these letters, my heart has a voice. Within these 26 lie all the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare, the Bible, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, fairy tales, Peter Rabbit, and the House at Pooh Corner.
Each letter has its own personality and special sound (or two). They’re not afraid to work, and love to play. We can’t count the number of books they live in or the number of thoughts they will give expression to. Most important, they love it when we sing their praises. So will you help me sing in the new year?
Wherever you are this minute, take a deep breath, assume an operatic pose, and warm up your vocal chords.
Remember: we have to sing loud to get the bugs out of the soup. Sing with feeling, so all 26 of your closest friends know you really love them. When you’re done, you’re ready for the recipe.
(Hey, man, going to pot never felt so good . . .)
STRANGERS IN MY SOUP
by Allen Sherman
(to be sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”)
Strangers in my soup, that’s what I found there
Little tiny things that swim around there
Looking down I see them looking up at me.
Strange things can be seen, they’re scattered sparsely,
Small things that are green, but are not parsley
In my soup they’ve made their little aquacade.
(from author Shirley Climo, Writers in the Kitchen, Boyds Mills Press, 1998)
About this soup, she says, I was a lucky child. My mother was a writer, a playwright, and author of juvenile books . . . Whenever I heard the Underwood typewriter clacking on the porch and smelled the Inspiration Soup simmering in the kitchen, I knew a book deadline was approaching. Mom always filled the kettle with soup enough to nourish her family until she’d typed, ‘The End,’ wrapped her manuscript in brown paper, secured it with string, and sent it on the road to New York City. . . The Inspiration in the recipe’s title comes from using whatever leftovers the refrigerator offers. Every potful was an original, for Mom, a sensitive writer, couldn’t reject anything.
2 pounds Polish kielbasa or Italian sausage, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
2 potatoes, cubed
1 large can (28 oz) tomatoes, broken up with a fork
6 to 8 cups of stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
In a large kettle, brown sausage and drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then put in any or all of the following, whatever inspires you:
1 cup noodles, or any other cooked pasta
green beans (kidney beans or black beans are good, too)
corn (fresh, canned, or frozen)
2 or 3 cups shredded spinach or cabbage
Cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Cool. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add about a tablespoon of chili powder if you like it.
TIPS: I cooked this in my crockpot, (cutting back on the water to 5 cups), and it turned out fine.
If singing the soupsong doesn’t get rid of your bugs, make them their own soup: