December 7, 2010

Gravity, the Moon and Tears in my Soup

moon2

Last night I made some soup. It wasn’t anything particularly special…certainly not gourmet by any stretch. But it was delicious. And it made me weep. I’m sure I probably put way too much emphasis on food (is that even possible?), but in this case I wasn’t being overly dramatic. Or at least I wasn’t trying to be. It was just really cold out (even snowing a bit) and I thought what better thing to have for dinner than a big bowl of hot vegetable soup. Using my great-grandmother’s method (it’s the only one I know), I dumped all the necessary ingredients in a big pot and let it simmer awhile. After a couple of hours, I went to check on the soup and when I lifted the lid off the pot, the smell completely transported me.

grandma's veg soup

This soup was my grandma’s attempt at healthy cooking. Bless her heart, it has enough grease to clog an artery. But she knew I loved it and would often call me to come by and have a bowl for lunch. If I stopped by her house and she didn’t have any made fresh, she could always seem to find a container of it in the deep freeze, usually in a recycled cottage cheese tub, sometimes with my name written on a piece of masking tape on top. It might not seem like a big deal, but it made me feel loved. As I stood over the pot on my stove last night, with tears streaming down and thinking to myself what a magical thing scent can be, I was overwhelmed by how memories can feel so alive. It was like my grandma was right there with me. And in a way, she was. Here in the south, this is just one of the ways we keep the ones we love close to us even when they are physically gone. I love this quote from a book by Mary Karr, “She could no more be gone than gravity or the moon." That’s exactly how I feel about so many of the folks I have loved. We might not be able see or touch them, but we know they are with us all the same.

grandpa&grandma young at homestead{my precious great-grandparents when they were just a young couple in love}

13 comments:

  1. You are a magical writer.... when I read your words I am transported to another place and time.ne

    ReplyDelete
  2. Smells and aromas are the strongest memory triggers. I did the same thing with the bread dressing I made for Thanksgiving in my grandma's big pan. Once I caught a whiff of the baking bread and poultry seasoning, the tears started, and she's been gone ten years now. Sigh.... It is good that God lets us keep these special people so close for when we need them!

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is nothing better than your grandparents cooking for you...I have the best memories of one grandfather making me cinnamon toast, another making latkes, and my grandmother making chocolate pudding when she knew I was coming over. And I love recreating this for my little one. It never quite tastes the same, though, does it?

    ReplyDelete
  4. First of all, it DOES seem like a big deal to me and touched my heart. It also made me tear up thinking how much I miss my Grandma Stibor. She's been gone for 25 years and I can scarely beleive that. What I wouldn't give to smell some of her homemade yellow cake in the oven and feel her long fingernails lightly run through my hair. That feeling ALWAYS make me feel loved because of her.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I made a batch of vegetable beef soup last week and it looked just the same! So comforting and cozy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I know what you mean :-) When I make one of my mom's recipes or a recipe from our old church cookbook, it takes me back and makes it feel like we're not so far away from everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a precious post, Kate! I feel the same way when I have smell asparagus. My Mamaw always made asparagus just for me when I was a kid. She made it with canned asparagus..swimming in a homemade white sauce and covered with cheddar cheese. I loved it that way and it never failed to make her dinner or supper table if she knew that I was going to be there. No matter what the other menu items were on there. Blessings, Candace

    ReplyDelete
  8. Isn't it amazing how scents can take us back and bring back so many memories?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love love love this post. I have a lot of my grandmother's cast iron pots and I swear they make the food taste better just because it's cooked in those pots.

    PS: Did you know Mary Karr is from my hometown? She was several years ahead of me, but we went to the same high school.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The most random things can bring back memories worth tears. The first year after my grandfather died I cried every time I heard All My Exes live in Texas. makes me miss him to much still but now I can handle all the happy memories it brings.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I totally get that. So sweet. And oh my gosh what I wouldn't do for some of Grandma's homemade soup right now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Songs and smells transport me far away to another place and time the fastest. Sweet memories, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh Kate, I've felt the same way so many many times! Your soup looks just like mine! My Memommie taught me how to make soup, something she made often when it was cold. She too...kept every old butter dish/cottage cheese container and repurposed it before it was even cool to do it. I just love being from the South and the things we Scarletts all share.

    I hope you found your award..not sure if you received me message or not. I love your blog..I feel like I'm reading from a freind i grew up with.

    Merry Christmas!

    Carol-the gardener

    ReplyDelete

Lay it on me y'all!