Yellow splt pea and a freekeh soup
“After the second day’s march Pierre, having examined his feet by the campfire, thought it would be impossible to walk on them; but when everybody got up he went along, limping, and, when he had warmed up, walked without feeling the pain, though at night his feet were more terrible to look at than before. However, he did not look at them now, but thought of other things.” (Is she still going on about Pierre Bezukhov? She is!) The other day I spoke about Platon Karataev, a relatively minor yet remarkably important character in War and Peace. And today I should talk about something completely different
. But I don’t want to, because Mama, this has been on my mind: this whole passage, but this sentence in particular. This sentence about the sorry state of Pierre’s feet. He “thought of other things.” I love this testament to the power of the human mind, the power of thoughts and hopes and imagination. I’ve always said that a person should be able to sit in traffic and not wish the time away, because of the wealth of thoughts in their own head. I fully recognize the difference between the boredom of traffic and the terror of war. I hope never to be tested the way Pierre was. But I love to think about our imaginations and all of the worlds we create in our minds as something that we take with us everywhere we go, something that is uniquely ours and can’t be taken away from us, something that makes us free despite the privations of our physical state. “And now during these last three weeks of the march he had learned still another new, consolatory truth—that nothing in this world is terrible. He had learned that as there is no condition in which man can be happy and entirely free, so there is no condition in which he need be unhappy and lack freedom. He learned that suffering and freedom have their limits and that those limits are very near together…He did not see and did not hear how they shot the prisoners who lagged behind, though more than a hundred perished in that way. He did not think of Karataev who grew weaker every day and evidently would soon have to share that fate. Still less did Pierre think about himself. The harder his position became and the more terrible the future, the more independent of that position in which he found himself were the joyful and comforting thoughts, memories, and imaginings that came to him.” Or as Camus wrote, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
Freekeh! Why, it’s delicious! And so good for you, too! This was a light but hearty soup. Yellow split peas and freekeh both have a mysteriously appealing flavor, and they combine well here. I seasoned this with ginger, lemon, rosemary, basil and a touch of cardamom. I added potatoes and spinach, because I seem to be putting them in everything lately. I do love them! And that’s all I’m going to say about that!
Here’s Bob Marley with Dancing Shoes. It’s a beauty!
2 T butter or olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 t dried basil
2 t fresh rosemary, chopped
2 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/3 inch dice
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup freekeh
1/2 t cardamom
3 cups baby spinach, finely chopped
1 T butter
juice of half a lemon
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the butter or olive oil. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger and rosemary. Stir and cook until the garlic starts to brown. Add the potatoes, stir and cook for a few minutes until they start to brown and soften. Add the white wine, and scrape up all the nicely browned stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the freekeh and split peas and stir and cook for a minute or two.
Add the cardamom and enough water to cover everything by about an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes until the potatoes and split peas are soft but still have some texture. Add the spinach and cook until it’s wilted and warmed through. Stir in the butter and lemon and season well with salt and pepper.
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