Cold Weather: Soup & Random Conversations

It’s soup weather for sure. I spent a good part of yesterday making stock from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, and then made soup with a bunch of random vegetables in the fridge. A friend used to describe her plans for dinner as “kicking the fridge.” My soup fits that image—some carrots, onions, parsnips, celery, garlic, broccoli, and peppers. Once everything softened up, I added the fresh stock, water, and herbs, and pureed everything with an immersion blender. Hot, fresh, delicious.

I’m not one for too many new gadgets. My husband bought one of those superpower blenders and I know I could make hot soup directly in it. Another friend proudly showed off her new instant pot, though she complained the pot retained smells and hers indeed smelled of yesterday’s curry. Too fiddly for me and too big. I don’t have room in my kitchen for another appliance. I’ll stick to my beloved and well-used Le Creuset soup pot. I love how soup simmers on the stove, sending its aromas through the kitchen, inviting me to sample and adjust seasonings. I guess I’m an old-fashioned cook.

Speaking of soup, I like buying bags of bean mixtures. At Shop-Rite recently, while in line to check out, a woman behind me asked how I cooked them, pointing to the bags. Happy to share my tried and true method, I described how I soak the beans overnight, then cut vegetables, sauté them a little, add the beans, then water and stock, and simmer for hours until the beans are soft. One bag makes about four quarts of soup, I told her, that I usually freeze two for us, give one to my parents, and one to my son and his family. She shook her head, “No, takes too much time. I like fast cooking.”

From soup to…. lipstick. At Costco this week, for some weird reason- hey it’s winter and my lips felt chapped– I pulled out a lipstick from my pocketbook (long ago mastering the technique of lipstick applying without a mirror). A stranger approached and told me about a new Maybelline lipstick that lasts 24 hours. I thanked her for the tip, noting that I’ve been thinking of replacing or replenishing some of my make-up. As she walked away, I wondered why would I ever need a lipstick that lasts 24 hours? Well it was the thought that counts and nice to make a friendly connection, even if about lipstick.

I’m getting some physical therapy for lower back arthritis. There’s nowhere more fun than to listen to the jokes and anecdotes told by the other patients. Today a man read from his cell phone: “Why are Ben & Jerry sending me an email?” I suggested that perhaps they want him to sample a new flavor. The therapists figured that they want money for something. The patient deleted it and a bunch of other emails, making jokes about each one.

Happy 2018! May you have a year of great soup and random conversations!








About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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10 Responses to Cold Weather: Soup & Random Conversations

  1. ksbeth says:

    i’m all about the soup and comforting things right now –

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What great fun you have, be it making soup, chatting with strangers or being “cool” with new appliances. I’m happy to hear that you’ve maintained your sense of humor despite painful, lower back arthritis. Be well, pain-free, and always an adventurous soul. Healthy, Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joanturk says:

    Happy New Year to you and Matt. Always enjoy your posts but loved this one. I am in Sarasota for two months where it has been in the 30s at night. I know it is nothing like NJ but still not appropriate for Florida. Stay warm and enjoy the soup.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  4. mercyn620 says:

    Nothing better on a cold, snowy winter day than a pot of soup simmering on the stove.
    Happy New year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. madtaylor says:

    This was a great laugh!! Love it. I am the queen of either starting or receiving random conversations – today at a new gym studio; the friends I went with were astonished by how many folks were chatting with me or I with them – they thought new Sole Sisters had joined the midst unbeknown to them. Of course, all are welcome especially if we’re chatting from soup to lipstick!! Love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I add a tin of white beans to my homemade soups before I blend them. Makes them look creamier and adds some protein.
    On the subject of 24 hour lipstick- the great thing about for someone my age is that it doesn’t run into any creases around my mouth. It stays exactly where you put it. Then all you have to do during the day is add lipgloss or chapstick if you like.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I especially love making soup at hospice–– families appreciate it so much, the smell creates a feeling of home, and for many of the patients, soup is the perfect food! Lovely piece, Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

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