I am in a purgatory of my mind beginning a path of questions that have haunted me for months. As if it thinks by asking again, the answers will be different. Or could be different. They are not.
So I make soup. Soups. I finish one and I start another. I have one in the fridge that I made yesterday, and two on the stove. Basic, common, known forever, soups. Pea soup with leeks, thyme and bay leaf. I will go out and find some fresh mint for it. Chicken soup, because Ferdinand wasn’t feeling right yesterday. Stock from the bones of the chicken I roasted the day before, soffritto of onion, carrot and celery with rosemary and bay leaf and in the bowl, chicken pulled from the same bones, and buttered rice that I almost always have on a covered plate in my refrigerator, because it gives me peace to see it there. I heat the chicken and rice up with the hot stock and veg and give the whole thing a drizzle of olive oil and a grind of black pepper. Then there is Ashe. Its secrets are in the unpredictability of whatever I have to put in it. It always starts with onion, ginger and garlic, sautéed with crushed coriander, fennel seed and mustard seed, toasted for a minute, and then a peeled and diced potato and enough water to cover. I cover the pot and simmer until the potato is tender. On top of that I add a bunch of each, if I have it, spinach, cilantro, green onion, parsley, dill, mint, mustard greens..today I had spinach, parsley, cilantro and scallions. Enough. It is best with another swirl of olive oil on top of the greens, to enrich the flavor, before the lid goes back on for another 4-5 minutes. The greens should be tender, but still green. If you have a dried Persian lime, you can stab that a few times and let it rest in the soup, after the soup has cooked. The lime is buoyant. Rest a heavy spoon on top of it, to keep it below the surface.
The truth is, it is not a purgatory I would ever want to be released from. It is the most beautiful purgatory I know. That is the answer, I suppose.