Full Circle

Today’s touching Soup & Stories contribution comes from fellow “Des Moiner,” Karen Quiner. Karen is simply one of the kindest, sweetest, most genuine people you will ever meet. Joel says that simply by being married to Tom, Karen’s canonization cause ought to be a slam dunk {wink, wink}. But I say both Karen and Tom are salt of the earth, and the Des Moines community is blessed by their faithful witness. Now go grab a Kleenex before reading this one … just in case.

Mom Spooner's hungry brood

Mom Spooner’s hungry brood

My mother made a lot of soup. With a big soup bone, the leftover meat from the Sunday roast, some onions, garlic, bay leaf, and the vegetables she had on hand, she could feed eight hungry children with a healthy, satisfying, and delicious meal. If anyone stopped by at meal time, as they frequently did, there was always enough to share.

Navy bean soup was also a regular menu item. The smell of it simmering all day on the  stove was nearly as satisfying as the meal itself.

My mother stayed home to take care of the home and kids while my dad worked. There was never anything extra but we had what we needed and never went hungry. All eight kids shared two bicycles.  I shared a bedroom with my four sisters. My first bra had been passed down from the older sisters and then went from me to the younger girls.

It wasn’t perfect (not many families are) but we learned to share, we learned how to do without, how to care for and put others first, and we learned how to cook.

I love to cook. It is not only my creative outlet, it is an important way I show love.

Twelve years ago, my father died and my mother, who was in poor health, moved in with us. In the last few years, she has been having difficulty eating so I have always had soup in the fridge. At first she could eat vegetable beef soup, then gradually she got to the point where everything had to be pureed. There is only one soup left that she can eat, ginger carrot soup. It is easy to make, not too rich, easy to swallow, and oh, so delicious. Everyone loves it and asks for the recipe.

I will always think of my mom when I make soup. She made it for me, taught me how to make it, and now I make it for her. Soup says comfort, soup says nourishment, soup says love.

* * * 

Ginger Carrot Soup by Karen Quiner (download printable copy of recipe here)

3 tbsp olive oil
Small onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
5 cups chopped and peeled carrots
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Dash of allspice or nutmeg
1 -1/4 cup orange juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper)

Saute the onion and ginger in the olive oil till soft. Add the broth, the allspice or nutmeg and the carrots and simmer til carrots are soft. Process in food processor or blender till smooth. Add the orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. Eat it as is or with a dollop of sour cream or unflavored yogurt.

Read all Soup & Stories posts here.

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Comments

  1. Gretchen says

    would love the recipe for the navy bean soup too. Thanks.
    ps Darling family photo. Looks very familiar, decor and all! Came from a family of 7 boys and 1 girl. Best parents in the world!!

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