We are camping this weekend at Clear Lake and needed some music for our drive over. I started to download the newest Splendid Table and discovered that I have not downloaded any podcasts since the end of March. I knew that I had been a walking zombie since then, but no new podcasts?
On Monday night, for the first time since we found out we were pregnant, I made granola and lentil soup. I have my mojo back and with it, a love for cooking. There are tomatoes to be planted, cookies to bake and strangers’ hands to slap as they go in to touch my ever expanding stomach—or any number of things that you do not do or utter to a woman who is growing another person.
Cooking lentil soup reminded me how happy I was to listen to my body the past couple months and slow down. Two words that people do not think are in my vocabulary. To not return phone calls. To obviously not post to this blog. To turn off my phone. And, just be in whatever moment came. Two people in my life are model citizens for this kind of living. One is Charlotte. When you are with her, you feel like there is no one else around. Time slows down and you can see and hear things that you do not normally hear. She knows how to linger into the night and make you wonder how you lived to see 3am. When you leave her, you know she listened to you. She did not just hear the words coming out of your mouth.
The other person is Stefan. When I am with my husband in the woods, at the farm, on a beach or on the ocean, I feel like I am the only one around and maybe more importantly, like what we are doing at the moment is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Like we are right where we belong. Everything else disappears. It is not necessarily moments filled with fireworks or Pink Floyd laser light shows. It feels still. And simple. And right. Stefan also is a master at lingering. One of my favorite places that he lingers is at Jeff and Suzanne’s house. I slowly rub his back when it is time to leave and he bounds into a new topic where we find ourselves filling up our glasses a couple more times before we do find our shoes and leave.
The lentil soup I made felt right. And simple. It fills me up. Lingers. I hope that when I eat this, my baby gets some of that stillness. And to understand not only how to slow down, buy why. To pause and linger for that one last conversation with an old friend.
Lingering Lentil Soup
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 large onion, diced
• 4 stalks of chopped celery
• 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into fine dice
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 10 sprigs fresh thyme
• Dash of paprika (Hungarian if you’ve got it)
• 8 plum diced tomatoes
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups French lentils
• 2 bay leaves
• Dash salt
1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots for about 10 minutes, until onions have browned a bit. Add the garlic, thyme, and paprika, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary, and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add the water, lentils, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, then cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Blend about half of the soup with a hand blender. Serve with good, crusty bread.