Before I get to the soup you should go listen to The Soup Dragons’ Divine Thing. My mind latched onto that song last night when I was making the soon-to-be-mentioned soup mostly because singing Sunken-Eyed Girl is really confusing right now. I recently finished reading The Book of Drugs and I’m in heavy Doughty Re-evaluation Mode. It’s not going well.
Also, I’m pissed at you all for not reminding me that Divine Thing is a ‘hips’ song. Thanks a lot. Even though you didn’t ask, the Hips Playlist is sitting at 49 songs.
I’ll get to the soup in a minute.
As a single woman who has spent all but six months (and they were sucky months) of the past thirteen years living alone, I have a very rainbows and unicorns view of people who live with other people. This view gets covered over with glitter and orgasms if the people who live together are romantically involved.
In this romantic view of cohabitation the person who cooks a meal is never the person who does the dishes afterwards. There’s someone who will scoop you a dish of ice cream and bring it to you while you watch re-runs of “Dawson’s Creek” and compliment you on preparing the coffee for the next morning. In this fairy-tale there’s someone who will say, “Hey, nice job!” when it comes to most things that grown ups to do to take care of themselves. Yes, I believe the mundanities of daily life should be recognized.
When you are single and live alone nobody is there to congratulate you when you do anything. It can make one a little bitter and crabby. “Nobody appreciates how I just dusted the shit out of the coffee table and made sure all the cupboard doors were shut so I didn’t bump my head. Hrmph!”
When you are single and live alone there’s nobody there to hold you accountable for anything, which makes it really easy to be very bad. And not lay on the couch and spend all afternoon masturbating kind of bad, but I’ve eaten nothing but Cheerios, mini-corndogs, and tator tots for a week kind of bad. I could eat mini-corndogs every day for a month and if I didn’t tell anyone nobody would ever know.
You know mini-corndogs are a gateway drug, right? One night it’s mini-corndogs and the next thing you know it’s two months later and you haven’t eaten any actual real food in two months. All your meals come from the freezer where the boxed-up, artificially-colored, processed food-type-stuff is kept and you can’t remember the last time you prepared a “meal” that didn’t involve a cookie sheet and preheating the oven to 425.
Judge all you want, Wapner. It’s an easy hole to fall into. You aren’t cooking for anyone else, nobody would appreciate it if you did. Plus, it’s really easy, ridiculously easy, especially if you don’t get home from work until later and you don’t have to worry about ingredients, justification, more justification, blah. And best of all, nobody would ever, ever know unless you told them. Ever. You don’t have any snitchy roommates or significant others to contend with. Corndog away my friend.
Long about the time I got laid off from The Nerdery and started freelancing fulltime, I got into actually cooking. I could always cook, but I was pretty one-note sticking to the things I knew how to make (usually learned from Mom or Dad or Grammu) or foods I could chop up and throw in the oven for an hour and then eat. But now that I had time, I was gonna experiment.
I grew up incredibly poor, raised by two parents who worked in the food service industry. When it came time for dinner, preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals was not their priority. They liked food that was fast and cheap, which meant a lot of our meals came from a McDonald’s bag. When my mom or dad would cook it was always a meat and potatoes kind of meal. The only vegetables they ever served were corn and creamed corn. There was the occasional can of peas.
It shames me more than a little that it took until I was in my thirties to realize that I could buy and prepare other kinds of vegetables all on my own. And, this was even more earth-shattering, if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to eat it. There was a lot of plate cleaning when I was growing up no matter how much you hated steak. When you are poor you are taught to eat what you are given and be thankful for it. Just this past summer I tried brussel sprouts for the first time ever. I loved them.
So last night I made pasta e fagioli soup. After subsisting on a mostly cheese-based diet during the holidays I needed something without cheese and/or cream and/or creamy cheese.
Darling Ones, this soup was the best thing I’ve put in my mouth since [insert crass blowjob joke here]. I wanted to sing love songs to this soup. This soup was so good it made me say mean things about the sausage and lentil stew I made a month ago and even the split pea soup I made right after Christmas.
This soup was so good that had I a co-habitator of the romantic persuasion he’d have done the dishes, scooped me ice cream, and I’d have gotten laid. It was that good.
This soup was so good it deserved to be discussed and talked about. This soup was so divine that I wanted to tell the Interent about it, but I wasn’t sure how. I know nobody cares about what I had for dinner. Really, I do. I’ve deleted enough turkey sandwich posts to last me a lifetime.
But this soup was good and it deserved recognition. But more than that, I made that soup and I took care of myself like a grownup should and damnit, I need some motherfucking acclaim up in this joint.
So this is my post about soup.
(P.S. tomorrow I’m going to try to make baked beans from scratch for Nolan’s birthday dinner where he requested brats and hot dogs on the grill)
I love this post. Your soup sounds delicious. I don’t think I’m a fan of that kind of soup, but I also don’t know that I’ve ever eaten it. After this comment, I’m going to follow your link and give it some thought. For the record, as someone who shares a house with someone does the dishes after I cook and who would gladly get me ice cream if that were my thing, I have to point out that it would also be kind of nice to have the house to myself, to choose the TV show for once in my life and whatever else goes along with the freedom of being single. So there’s that. Also, have you read Zeitoun? I just finished it and can’t remember if you ever mentioned it.
I’m back. And I’m sold on the soup. Did you include bacon or pancetta or skip it?
@Lori, I actually used hot Italian sausage because there’s like four pounds of it in my freezer. My subconscious must be afraid of an impending italian sausage shortage. I had a bad experience with pancetta once so I avoid it.
I broke up with Dave Eggers sometime around What is the What and never even pondered reading Zeitoun (though I have heard it’s very very good). I like what Dave Eggers does/has done for literature but I’m just kind of done with reading him.
The soup is DIVINE. My only advice, is if you don’t plan on eating it all at first only use half the pastas and then just make some more for the leftovers. I have a disintegrating pasta situation here (but it’s still delicious).
I never made it to What either. I loved Heartbreaking Work and was meh about Velocity, so much that I never read any further (maybe some of his Best American anthologies, but that doesn’t even count). I got a Nook for Christmas and somehow stumbled upon Zeitoun, and I’m really glad I did. The story was really enlightening about Katrina. I keep meaning to reread your top 2011 list for my next round of reading. I loved The Giant’s House, all the way up until the end, I guess. I kind of stopped caring before the story was over. The daughter part … I hardly even remember the details. Anyway, I’m intrigued by the soup. The end.
The thing about the other person doing the dishes after you cook, is that sometimes he complains about how many dishes you used to cook. And then he expects YOU to scoop HIM the ice cream.
Sometimes I miss the dishwasher in my apartment.
Hell, all the time I do.
I was just thinking of pasta e fagioli, but I put minestrone on the menu instead. (I do a weekly menu and then grocery shop once a week).
@Angela S, I have a dishwasher and still whine about doing the dishes even though I’m the only one who dirties the dishes.
You should send me that minestrone recipe. Does it include zucchinis? I bought zucchinis and now I need to use them up.
Last night I listened to a Spotify playlist of the 12/20/1992 episode of 120 Minutes. (The 120 Minutes Archive) “Divine Thing” was on it. I’d completely forgotten about that song, and now it’s come up twice within 24 hours.
Sorry, I tried to link there but I guess I botched it. I blame Chrome. Here goes again: The 120 Minutes Archive
@Barrett Chase, It’s a Soup Dragons revival. I even posted a video on Facebook the other night.
P.S. I loved 120 minutes.
I recently had a weird feeling about a song I’d forgotten. No one could help me identify it. All I could conjure was the word ‘pearl’ and didn’t even know if that was part of the name of the song or the band. I scoured countless lists of songs played on 120 Minutes and finally came up with the answer. Chapterhouse was the band and Mother of Pearl was the song. Totally worth the effort as that was one of the best TV shows ever. Also, I saw the Soup Dragons in concert. True story.
@Lori, I’ve never heard of Chapterhouse or Mother of Pearl, but I will go find them now.
Please tell me the Soup Dragons toured with someone like Jesus Jones or EMF.
Pasta e fagiole is absolutely drool worthy, but I’d never even thought to put italian sausage in it. That has to be instant crack… And, if you have the freezer room, put that crack up so you can have it whenever without having to cook it. And, w/o pasta, no good comes of cooking the whole batch with pasta if you’re single. And, naw, I’m done.
@Kate, I’m happy to hear it freezes well. I’m really leery of freezing cooked stuff. I’m always afraid it will taste funny when re-heated.
Yes, Soup Dragons opened up for one of the two — either Jesus Jones or EMF. Can’t remember which because I saw them both in concert. That was an impressive guess if it came off the top of your head.
@Lori, It was an educated guess and I’m so smug with my brillance right now it’s ridiculous.
Tonight I read your article of the soup and cook a soup because I had been excited about your story that I could not and I had to do more . By the way I stay very well.
But I want to rescue your story more than a meal is best enjoyed with someone else because loneliness is bad company. The most romantic times are when you share that sublime moment to eat something nice , look at the person with whom you share your table and food if she did say “thank was very nice ” … then you ‘ll know that person feelings for you . It is caring and if we are lucky to love.