PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Sunday, December 12, 2004

We Talk About Lots of Things...... Like Soup.....

I spent 12 hours today with one of my best friends: Shelley. Most of the time was spent working on our respective knitting projects, but we did go out and grab breakfast, and I puttered around the house part of the time, working on other list items..... I made hamburger soup, which is nothing special, it's just browning burger & creating soup around it - onions, canned veggies, tomatoes, bouillion. I threw in half a bag of cheese tortellini to make it a little less white-trash stovetop soup. It was yummeh.
But the best part? Not having to ask your best friend if she likes corn, or beans, or peas, or onion, or tomatoes. Because you know. And it's different when it's your friend, versus your husband. I think because you're expected to know if you're married, and for whatever reason, soup is a big issue in our house. I absolutely hate cream of mushroom soup, because I was raised in the upper midwest, where cream-based soups are merely flavored glue, to be used in "hot dish", or what the rest of the world calls "casserole". James keeps trying to serve it to me as an entree, and his feelings get hurt when I point out, for the 10th time, I DO NOT EAT CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP like that. In any event, Shelley's one of those friends I'm completely relaxed around, enough so that she can see my house in a total pigsty state and I don't worry she's going to leave and raise her inner eyebrows.

Talking about good girlfriends, I miss Sheila, and Rebs, my dear ol' college buddies, because I still feel like they're my best friends - they've known me so long, and even when months or years skip by, and we don't talk, or get a chance to see each other, we still love each other, and I believe we always will. They knew me when I wore Chuck Taylor high tops and spiked my hair because I was SO New Wave and patiently listened to me proclaim my deep, unwavering love for David Bowie. And Joe Jackson. And later - I can't believe I'm admitting this - Richard Grieco. WHERE ARE YOU NOW, RICHARD?
I can fast-forward through the microfiche of my memories, seeing breath-stopping stupidity, moments I skip by in a blur, heart-breaking moments in my life, but I am also comforted to know that they were there, an undercurrent of constance, the faith & security that never broke or was used against me to further divide my heart and mind. They handed me glue to heal. I see people in my life now, who will be there in ten years, when I do the same retrospection, and I know that I am lucky now & will be grateful for them down the road.
So let's talk about soup, once more. It's funny, I promise.
Shelley made us soup a few years ago on Christmas eve. She made two kinds of soups: one was a creamy cheesey cauliflower, and the other was matzoh ball. We started with the matzoh ball. I had about three matzoh balls in my bowl, and I took a spoonful of broth & a chunk of matzoh. Hm. First reaction from my tastebuds told me: "Salty!" and "Not Very Flavorful." I paused. I tried a smaller spoonful. I looked across the table at our friend Meredith, who had not tried hers yet. I looked to my right at the man I didn't even know I would end up marrying. He was eating his soup, not looking up. So I tried a third taste, and Shelley said, "Is it ok?"
I said, "Well............ it's a little salty."
- pause-
"Did you use chicken broth in this?"
And then it was like fourteen things happened at once. Meredith didn't even get her spoon out of her bowl. James surfaced from his end of the table, looking at us, as he shriveled & dehydrated in front of my eyes. Shelley was up and out of her chair into the kitchen to get the box of soup to investigate. I realized in the midst of the commotion that what we were eating was not actually Matzoh Ball Soup, but Just Matzohs, in Brine. Because that's how you make matzoh balls, on their own - you cook 'em in salt water. And if you've never made the soup from a mix, and just got matzoh ball mix, you might not realize that you need chicken broth (unsalted!) to float the cooked matzoh balls in. Did I mention none of us are Jewish? And then Shelley was grabbing our bowls in HostessShock, apologizing and laughing and James was beseeching her for lots of water, and my heart melted a bit more that day because James is nothing if not accommodating, and a perfect guest, who will eat matzoh balls in brine, quietly, because it's not polite to say bad things about soup, or a meal in general, and maybe, just maybe, I won't be such a harpy next time about the cream of mushroom soup, because I married a man who would never want to hurt the cook's feelings. And I have an awesome friend who still lets me laugh about her soup.

And in Iowa City, and in Seattle, and in Minneapolis, Chicago & Kansas City, I have the greatest friends. I hope when we're all old & doddering, we move into the same retirement village together. We'll reminisce about the good old days & eat lots of soup. And knit. Who knows? It could be like college all over again, without the painful mistakes. Except instead of drinking, we'll all be swapping our arthritis medicine and comparing bunions. It's gonna be awesome.
posted by PlazaJen, 1:08 AM