Friday, February 8, 2008

A tearful and terrifying day

It’s not actually as ominous as it sounds. My friends Ana and Ken were coming for dinner, and as Ken does not like anything green, I decided to make barley soup. Scotch Broth was my top favorite Campbell’s soup when I was little, and I have not had barley soup in a long time. Here are the ingredients for the soup – minus the barley which was still in the jar at that point. I chopped a huge white onion, hence some of the tears, and I listened to Schubert while I was chopping and cooking – hence more tears. Bach and Mozart are my favorites, far and away, but they both make me feel elated and full of energy. Schubert’s melodies, on the other hand, sort of rip the soul out and turn it waxen, and all aquiver!

As to the terror – when I was a girl, my mother made my brother and I go outside when she pressure cooked anything. There may have even been an actual explosion, or else she described the potential horror so graphically than I envisioned it and now cannot tell if it was real or imagined. Anyhow, I gained a healthy respect for pressure cookers, and have inner qualms whenever Rebecca uses hers, which she frequently does. She is a real advocate, and so is my friend Tom. I have used the pressure cooker several times under their reassuring tutelage, but today, I did it all by myself. For the first time!! And it went quite well. The barley was cooked in minutes rather than hours, and the resulting soup was wonderful. And see—no green, at least not any showing. We had Russian beets which were really Polish, salad with lots of green, and a berry cobbler to top things off. Oh, and you can see the bread dough in the top picture – I branched out and made cracked wheat bread. It too was delicious! And very different from the Italian breads I have been making.

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