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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Soup Chronicle

It's an unseasonably shitty day out which means I am sitting here with my coffee desperately waiting for someone's roof to leak to be called in to service to alleviate my boredom and make me feel like a hero for a moment . It sucks because just as we are getting out of this recession and now have all of the not-so-rainy-day seismic work we can eat , the GuyInTheSky just is NOT cooperating one bit , which kind of reminds me of what I used to do on days like today - make soup and reminisce about the wonderful inspirations for the soup as I go ...
And into the fry pan goes a chopped white onion....
I miss my grandmothers - they both survived far more than any of us could handle - wars , pogroms , famines , you name it - with grace and toughness and spirit and I feel supremely blessed that I should be permitted to have enjoyed their presence , their gifts , wisdom , and even periodically , whippins . Today , I'm going to delve into my dad's mum , because I seldom mention her and she was possibly THE most positive influence in my life prior to her passing at the end of 1989 .
....and into the stock pot goes the onion and a can of cononut milk and the pan 5000 mushrooms and garlic....
I used to spend a lot of summers with my grandmother . she lived in a very humble semi-shack just off of Lake simcoe which did not have the things that most of us find comfortable , but her and I most certainly did - she didn't have a bathtub , but we always had the lake or a big old washtub in the wintertime . She had a Quebec tube stove in the kitchen and an outhouse lined with this odd tape from a local factory and newpapers for insulation . She had this hyperactive poople named Pierre and a blind sheepdog who followed me from place to place . There was an old fella one side who stored hundreds of ice fishing huts and a huge spanse of raspberry bushes to the other that were the source of many breakfasts and me being covered in pink Calamine from the insect bites from the atomic mosquitoes and blackflies that called the grove home.
...the mushrooms are becoming one with the stock pot...
Everything in my grandmother's world had some handiwork attached , very little manufactured , although she would buy my favourite cereal for my visits there , which my dad saw as dumping me off and we both relished . And , like most others , she could fix ANYTHING (after she died we found over 20 antique irons she had restored in a box in the closet) and nothing went to waste - she was the queen of recycling before it came into vogue . Milk bags were rinsed and hung to become lunch bags and tin cans could become anything .
....a ton of water goes into the pot with some butter as I go to do a quick run.....
My grandmother was a phenomenally intelligent and witty and worldly woman , however , and she could command the attention of any audience to tell her selected tidbits in a thick accent that I think every old granny should have . She was an amazingly well-read woman who had lived so much of her life in chaos that she simply got back to nature and found absolute serenity , peace with a world that had brought her pain , without bitterness . But she kept her passion and her will , but most of all , her humanity . Another rainy day may bring a few of those stories she told over tea , but for now I will go off to my soup with thoughts of a real-life superhero and a little inner peace and a lot of joy that was fought for by the humble immigrant grandparents that absolutely changed the world for the better . They fought and survived while others perished so that they could tell the tales and forge the next generations in the hopes that we will not repeat the mistakes of the oppressors of the past .


  1. Wow,I'm simply blown away by this blog.You took us to a place of peace and good memories.It made me remember my own grandmothers,and how much they affected my life and who I grew up to be..Thank you for the reminder of how important our past is to our future. Now I'm gonna go make my grandma's recipe for corn fritters. They won't be as good as hers were, but I'm gonna try... :o) Misskibbles....

  2. Oh Roofer, what a lovely post.Your love for your grandma is beautiful and you made me think of mine. Like yours,she probably had the most positive and profound effect on me and I loved her more than the moon. Thank you for sharing her with us.

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  4. what a peaceful way to start a morning. once again your thoughts have touched mine..and i thank you. rabbi made a suggestion on twitter. so today i will tell you, I appreciate you and your witt, love and sharing spirit. (ladyxxgore)

  5. My granny died about 4 yrs ago and I still think of her daily! As I was reading your blog I could actually smell her house, which always smelled of fried chicken, biscuits or pie. She was the person I wanted to be and I use her life as a moral compass in mine. Thank you for invoking those memories for me today. You have a style all your own and I LIKE IT A LOT!!!!
    Well done Jon


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