A ‘Food and Wine’ Moment

Since my girlfriends left on Sunday, I have done absolutely nothing except sleep, work, and limit my alcohol intake. Maybe it was my clarity of mind. Maybe it was boredom. After all the crazy activity when they were here, my social life has kind of stalled. And the TV star hasn’t called, even though he has my number ;).

Thus, with time on my hands tonight and being literally starved for homemade food, I decided to cook–really cook (at least for me)–for the first time in years. Probably three.

I am tired of scrambled eggs and corn tortillas (my breakfast almost every morning). I am tired of French fries (my lunch more days than not). I am tired of family meals I can’t eat (“Sorry RG, how about some fries?”), so I eat more fries.

I was thumbing through the most recent issue of Food and Wine, which was languishing atop the taller-than-tall stack of industry magazines my GM says he will read someday, mostly to write down good wines for under $15, when I saw it–an easy soup recipe.

Soup. Need it. Not for my soul. Just need it. For every part of my being.

So I showed the recipe to Chef and asked if the daytime sous chef could make it for me. “Sure,” he said. Which could mean tomorrow, or next month.

And a fleeting thought occurred to me: You can cook it yourself. It was a thought I quickly dismissed. I do not cook. My kitchen is the size of a closet, I despise prep, and no one likes anything I cook except Chicken Marbella and a leg of lamb stuffed with garlic and lemon, and I haven’t cooked either of those in what feels like a hundred years.

“Spring Vegetable Soup with Tarragon” was the recipe on page 114 of the April issue. I photocopied it before I left for the day, you know, to give to the sous chef tomorrow. But I also tucked it in my purse.

And while my laundry was working its way through the various cycles at Mr. Fabulous, I wandered over to Whole Foods to kill time. Just so happened, I had the copy of the soup recipe with me in my purse. Just so happened, I found all the ingredients listed in it. Just so happened, I told myself I could do this.

As I write, the too-small pot is simmering and my apartment smells great. I had a couple of cooking-emergency questions that I thought to send to my good friend at Just Cured, but then decided, what the hell, I’ll make it the way that makes sense to me, for better or worse.

I have no idea if I used the right part of the leek. I improvised by using a couple of cups of chicken broth instead of all water. My soup pot is too small. My choice of ladles is a joke, because I don’t own one.

My apartment still smells great.

Tomorrow, I will bring in a taste of my soup for the daytime sous chef to try. Tomorrow, I will share a healthy portion of this soup with my very cool coworker so we don’t have to eat fries, again. Tomorrow, I will wonder only a little about my soup, and then I will worry a lot about tomorrow’s tomorrow.

Tonight, however, I surprised myself and made my soup. And it tastes good, just the way I made it.







14 responses to “A ‘Food and Wine’ Moment”

  1. Michael Avatar

    You could have, should have, hollered. Not to improve upon the soup; I am sure it is wonderful. Just to talk about the making of it.

  2. John Avatar

    3 things that have nothing to do with being a cook: the size and contents of your kitchen, liking to prep and having others like what you cook. The only requirement is that YOU like what you cook.

    I congratulate you on being a cook.

    Best wishes,


  3. Ex-Restaurant Manager Avatar

    I’ve been using my kitchen for some ‘culinary meditation’ time lately also. Only my musings have not been as healthy as yours. Blondies with drizzled chocolate. Peanut butter cookies. Deviled eggs. Biscotti. My stomach is growing with gratitude. And everyone at work is starting to look forward to me arriving. Except those on a diet.

  4. Julie Avatar

    I love homemade soup. When I’m sick, I’ll pull out some broth and add whatever veggies are in the fridge and freezer… maybe some star pasta to make it a little more comforting. Your soup sounds fantastic. Much better than anything out of a can. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. joeinvegas Avatar

    Yes, it does look good. And nice of you to share.

  6. Brave Astronaut Avatar

    If I get the leg of lamb, will you come and cook in my kitchen for Easter? (That would be an actual invitation to come break bread with the Brave Astronaut). There is nothing like a good leg of lamb.

    I still have some homemade soup in the freezer that I made from the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving.

    But why are you eating soup in Florida? You’re mocking us, aren’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚

    When the new Bon Appetit arrives in the house, it usually gets reviewed and the good recipes pulled out. We have two binders of recipes (placed in sleeve protectors), along with a fair number of cookbooks.

  7. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    Michael–Thanks for being there when I needed to talk.

    John–I am no cook, but I was on this night. Thanks for getting that.

    Ex-RM–Yum! Wish I could eat all that you are cooking!

    Julie–The soup is great, but next time I would use less tarragon and sub another herb. I am a cilantro freak, so who knows…..

    joeinvegas–Someday I will meet you when I next go to Vegas. Meanwhile, thanks for so many of your nice comments.

    Brave Astronaut–I would gladly cook lamb for you, but I will be working on Easter, 1000 miles away from suburban DC. Thanks for the invite, though. As for soup, we had a “cold” snap for a day. And then again, you can always eat soup when the air conditioning is turned down. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. yoyo Avatar

    Gnom! Delicious soup!
    People tend to hide when I make soup because I go by the rule “if it’s been in the fridge for more than a week it goes in the soup”.

  9. Kim Ayres Avatar

    I have soup almost every day for lunch. Maggie has always insisted it is one of the easiest things to make and it always tastes great.

    It’s really good to hear about you doing this – it’s a sign of you looking after yourself properly ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Ali Avatar

    It’s all about those small victories ๐Ÿ™‚ The soup adventure makes for a good metaphor, too. Hang in there.

  11. Lisa Avatar

    Congrats! I love cooking and would do everyday for supper if time permitted! If you’re interested in a couple easy (low-prep, 1 dish 15-20min until you eat) delicious recipies email me and I’ll send them your way! (That way I don’t make your comments section huge! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Lauren Avatar

    I spent all of yesterday drooling over this exact soup recipe while I was reading this magazine at work.. and of course I no longer work in restaurants and don’t have someone to make it for me. Any extra tips for when I try to make it??

  13. Kevin Avatar

    Beautiful soup!

  14. MsMcDermott Avatar

    Hi R.G.
    I’m a new reader of your blog. And after reading this entry, and the foods you mention, I’m wondering if you have a problem with Gluten?