Golden beet and turnip bisque
Well! Thank god all of that Thanksgiving nonsense is over, and now we can get on with our lives, and go back to being ungrateful acquisitive bastards. Now here’s my christmas list. See that you get exact
ly what I specify!! I’m kidding, of course. But I was thinking about the phrase “thank you,” and how, when it seems spontaneous and sincere, it’s as welcome and unexpected as sunshine on a winter’s day. I have a friend with four children, and her three-year-old doesn’t talk much. But he’ll say “thank you” at the most surprising times, when she does some little thing for him. And when she told us about this, she put her hand to her heart as if the fact that he says “thank you” is so sweet it almost hurts. It’s a funny thing, being a mother. You do so much for your little ones, all day every day, and you can teach them to say “thank you” out of politeness. But it’s not likely that these small, incompletely developed people understand why they should feel grateful for your tireless service. After all, you’ve been catering to them since before they were born. To them it’s just the way life is – it’s how they need and expect it to be. They don’t know how much your life has changed since before their birth – how much you’ve given up for them, and how much you’ve gained. Your life is theirs, in some ways. Their knowledge of you and their sense of your history with them is something that they cling to. And, to be honest, I feel so cranky and anxious half the time that I forget to acknowledge the sweet things they give to me every day. I take for granted their light and warmth. The other day Isaac came and sat behind me on my chair, and rested his head on my shoulder. Did I say “thank you” for this great gift? I did not, I said, in a cranky voice, “what are you doing?” I feel like I’ll always regret that! I was thinking today that we’re all like oblivious children as we move through the world. People ring up our groceries and put them in bags, serve us in restaurants, leave us tips when we serve them in restaurants, help our children to cross the street, pick up our garbage, pump our gas. We might say “thank you” because it’s polite. but when it seems sincere, when somebody really seems to recognize the value of each small job in all of its great weight, that feels like a gift in itself. And then gratitude feeds upon gratitude to form a giant mountain of thankfulness!
When I make a meal, David always says thank you. And when they hear him say it, the boys say it, too. And then they say, “but I don’t really like it, can I have pasta and tamari instead?” But they liked this soup, they all liked it! It was a little smokey, a little sweet, a little tart and a little spicy. But overall warm and comforting.
Here’s Gratitude by the Beastie Boys. Live!
2 T olive oil
1 shallot – minced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 bay leaves
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 t dried basil
1/4 cup white wine
5 or 6 small golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice
4 or 5 small turnips, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice
3/4 cup sweet corn (I used frozen)
1 t smoked paprika
1 t ginger
1 t coriander
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t sumac
1/2 t fenugreek
1 T butter
juice of 1 lime
salt and plenty of black pepper
4 (+/-) cups broth
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the shallot, bay leaves and pepper flakes, and cook for about a minute, until the shallot starts to brown. Add the garlic and basil. Cook for about another minute, until the garlic starts to brown, and then add the vegetables. Stir to coat, and cook for about five or ten minutes, till they start to soften and brown. Add the white wine, and continue to cook until it is reduced and syrupy.
Add all of the spices, and then immediately add enough broth to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the vegetables are soft – about 20 minutes.
Add the butter and lemon juice, and carefully purée until smooth. Season well with salt and pepper.