Every now and then, it’s good to be reminded of one’s relative unimportance, I think. To say to yourself: I am just one of the many __________, for heaven’s sake! (Insert your title there, be it waitress or lawyer or salesperson or, well, you know, copywriter.) In the grand scheme of things, life will go on without me, and everyone will be fine. What seems so important in the light of a few angry exchanges today won’t matter a bit in a few years (Or months! Or days!) from now. In fact, some time all too soon, I probably won’t even remember it.
Do you ever have days like that? Days where you are repeating to yourself handy little sayings like, “You aren’t a brain surgeon, you know?” (Unless, of course, you are a brain surgeon, in which case I don’t know what you say to yourself when having such a day. But, on second thought, you probably don’t even get that luxury, and you’re definitely not reading my little blog. My outlook is improving already.)
Well, here’s what I suggest next time it happens to those of you who understand, right after you tell your best friend or closest family member the whole story and listen to them tell you they still like you even if you do make mistakes once in a while: go to the kitchen.
I know, I know, this is sort of my end-all solution for things, and that can seem a little false. But don’t knock it until you try it. Pick something you want to make—something delicious and sugary and with a wow factor if possible—and see if there’s a way to have the kitchen to yourself. Then, with nothing but some music or even total quiet if you’d like, focus on nothing—nothing!—else but putting ingredients together and watching the outcome.
I did this the other night with pumpkin soup, the recipe for which I got out of my friend Alicia, after her Facebook status referenced it, and I said I had to have it. That Alicia, she’s a nice one. In college, when she was a professor and my brother and I were students, she had us over for spinach-artichoke dip, and I knew I liked her.
Her soup, as easy as it is perfectly delicious, is a warm, creamy mixture of pumpkin, spices, onions, garlic and milk and cream. It feels comforting on your throat, with the kick of curry and coriander, and is so tasty, you’ll be saying things like, That Alicia! She’s really something! too.
Alicia’s Pumpkin Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 teaspoons minced garlic
1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1.5 (each 15-ounce size) cans of 100 percent pumpkin, or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
2.5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
Add pumpkin and chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.