Matt said grace, short and sweet and then our eyes met and held a stare, until we both smiled. I love it when that happens.
I shared a few thought bubbles. Though it turned out, there were too many in my head to package up in a clear, concise delivery, so I jumped around a bit [a lot]. I started stories without finishing them, began certain ideas at the end, and awkwardly fumbled my way back.
Have I mentioned I married a patient man?
Matt talked of sermons and podcasts he listened too that day, stories of sacrifice, costly love and joy - the unexplainable, overwhelming kind. He hadn't quite figured out why he felt so convicted, what exactly in his heart was shifting and stirring, why his blood was pulsing to act and shake things up, though I could see the wheels turning. I could see it all there.
In-between thought bubbles and stories, spoons clanked against white bowls and we let out deep, heartfelt sighs of satisfaction. We were quiet, the good kind of quiet. Like maybe this soup had all the right words for what we didn't need to say.
I thought all day about this soup. I planned my day around it.
The moment my shift at the bakery ended, I ran [ walked, really fast] home, took a deep breath, and sat - giving my feet a break. I gave myself a firm, strict deadline to start soup making at 4:00pm.
I worked on other tasks until then, never failing to check the clock and re-read the recipe process and peek in the fridge to make sure I did in fact buy extra broth and sweet potatoes.
Then I heard it. That teeny-tiny voice inside me saying, "Why do you care so much Maeve, it's just soup."
I recognized this voice, I've heard it before, though I never actually know when it's coming, and like a nasty cold, all I want to do is get rid of it.
You see that voice was trying to make me feel silly, like maybe I should get back to "real work" and just forget about soup. Maybe I should keep on keepin' on // write and craft more emails, make connections, apply, fix my resume, unclog the drain.
I should do anything but make soup.
But this time, I knew better.
If there's one thing I'm learning with age, it's that I have too, must, fight back and ignore that voice. So I held my ground and prepared my place in the kitchen to prep and mince and chop.
I knew deep down, that voice was not my own or of anyone or thing that really, truly cared for me. That was the voice of comparison, of measuring my successes against others. The voice of you-are-not-doing-enough.
But here's the thing, I believe, with all my heart, making soup is enough.
Sometimes soup is the first and only time we truly connect that day, with the people we love. Because life moves really fast and there are pictures to hang, dear friends to meet for coffee, family to call, clothes to fold.
Some days, our schedules are opposite. I'm up, he's down. I'm tired and he's full of energy. Some days, life becomes more about routine and grocery lists than about dancing in the kitchen and smooshing my face into his.
Sometimes, the process of making soup is my solace; a time to talk to God and pray for our world and friends who are hurting. A time to ask for forgiveness and grace.
Soup is making a mess and being creative, being my own boss [insert kid president saying "like a boss" here]. It's a time to not take myself so seriously, to laugh when part of the thick, gloppy soup exploded out of the pot and landed on the floor and in my scarf and hair?
Soup is memories, of times in the kitchen with the people I love. Snapping string beans with my Grandma, baking apple pies with my sister, learning Dad's secret to making pancakes taste so darn good each and every time [butter, duh].
I talk a lot about meals and food and the table. But when you love something and believe in it's power, you can't help put all other things aside and just do it.
It's never silly or foolish to do the things you love, the things you were made to do [don't listen to that other voice].
I figured if I am going to talk about this soup I should share the recipe, right? It's so easy, truly. And it tastes so good.
I used Jamie Oliver's Broccoli & Sweet Potato Soup recipe as a guide but made a few adjustments here and there. Oh, and I bought some extra broccoli to roast, that made for a delicious and pretty garnish.
How I only learned about roasting vegetables 3 years ago is completely crazy, it's a game changer folks. Just drizzle some olive oil and garlic salt on the broccoli, spread out on a baking sheet, and turn the oven to 400. By the time the soup is done [or before] you'll have crispy, salty broccoli pieces. YUM.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed [I minced]
2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
3-ish cups of chicken or vegetable stock [I used veg]
1 small head of broccoli, cut
2 tsp harissa [I didn't have this so I added a pinch of salt, pepper, cinnamon & curry right at the end]
1. Heat oil in a pan and cook the onions until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook a little bit more. Add your stock.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add broccoli at the end and cook until softened.
3. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender right in the pot. Puree it all until it's nice and smooth. [I added a little bit of water to thin it out].
4. Add your spices, mix, taste, adjust, & eat. Like a BOSS.